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Who'd Be a Manager Part 2

By: Todd Bontoft
Date: 22/01/2001

Understandably so the jury is still out on Lennie Lawrence with the first signs of frustration and the accompanying dissenting comments starting to surface from many a quarter. But let's not forget that when he arrived it was like a breath of fresh air.

There was almost a guarantee - demanded of the new manager by the vast majority - that things 'new' must be tried, and Lennie was happy to oblige. Even the most ardent of Buckley's disciples will privately admit that the style had become predictable and boring. There was a miserable malaise surrounding the whole club.

Lennie promised an end to the zombie-like existence and has experimented with new players and systems. Some of which have been successful, some clearly have not but the poor guy would have been equally pilloried if the players and tactics from the Buckley era had remained very much the same. It would also be a brave person to suggest that things would be any the better under Buckley, but that, in any case, is a moot point of history and no more.

My hope is that things don't turn nasty for Lennie like they did for Alan Smith. People pay their money and are more than entitled to their opinion, but if they do I hope they live to regret it. Let's not forget that managerially it is still very early days and he inherited a team at the worst possible time during a season, without the benefit of a pre-season to set out his stall. What is more, he does not have the luxury of low expectancy by taking over a seemingly already 'doomed' side during the managerial reshuffle that starts to get underway around this time of year. But in all honesty I remain far more optimistic than I was at the season's start, when I could only see one conclusion in May 2001.

In any case, its very unlikely that he is going anywhere this season, and as a result, I for one will give him my full support. I have my reservations, but from the outset he has done everything I wanted a new man to do. I think it was a case of being damned if he did and damned if he didn't! It would be churlish not to give him room to show his worth, and where would Manchester United be if they had sacked an under pressure Alex Ferguson many moons ago? It's a gamble of course, what if he doesn't keep us up? But it's a gamble to get someone else in at such a crucial time of the season!

Only advice I can give him is win some home games! Difficult for anyone to achieve with a small club in such a competitive league, in a division higher than perhaps its support deserves and clearly without the means to buy a raft of new players!

Who'd be a manager?

Todd Bontoft

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