The Football League Paper - - PROFILE ON -

DOWN in our part of the coun­try, there was al­ways a feel­ing Bris­tol Rovers were too big a club to go down.

And it only in­ten­si­fied af­ter a 2-1 win over Wy­combe in the penul­ti­mate game put them three points clear of trou­ble.

So it came as a great shock to see them drop into the Con­fer­ence for the first time. It just shows you how fine the mar­gins are.

We all know that man­ager John Ward moved up­stairs with eight games to go. Quite what hap­pened be­hind the scenes is any­one’s guess – whether that was John’s idea or the board’s idea, I don’t know. It was a brave de­ci­sion but, in ret­ro­spect, it may not have been the right one.

While I think Dar­rell Clarke is a good coach who did very well at Sal­is­bury, to be thrown straight into a rel­e­ga­tion scrap with so much at stake was a big ask for some­one so in­ex­pe­ri­enced.

I go back to my time at Torquay, when I dropped out of the top flight to man­age them for 17 games in 1993. Even for me, it was an in­cred­i­bly stress­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, so I find it sur­pris­ing they went that way.

Ul­ti­mately, the di­rec­tors have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity. They are the ones who make the de­ci­sions and, like Nor­wich in the Pre­mier League, chang­ing man­ager so late in the sea­son looks like it was the wrong one.

They’re in a very un­en­vi­able po­si­tion now. Like Lu­ton be­fore them, Rovers will be a big scalp in the Con­fer­ence.

You look at the teams,the fa­cil­i­ties, the money some teams have in Non-League and it’s clear ev­ery one of those 46 games will be hard.

But ev­ery­body has a cy­cle and they have to stop feel­ing sorry for them­selves. No team has a divine right to League foot­ball and if the fans re­alise that and stay be­hind their team, they’ll get back up. It might just take a while.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.