Iron Bru Podcast panellist, Matt Ellis pens his thoughts on the upcoming season under caretaker manager, Russ Wilcox.
Picture this, if you will; It’s 4:37pm on a Saturday. You’re stood on the terrace at Glanford Park, a slight ache in your neck from watching the ball spend most of its time airborne, the 4th official’s board goes up, a 5th defender comes on to defend a 1-1 score line against Morecambe.
Does this sound familiar? It should, this is Wilcoxball, and this is what you can look forward to next season.
I remember once, when I worked in York, the then York City manager, Russ Wilcox, drove past my commuter bus in a red utilitarian car, known as a Volvo. Nothing flash, steady, compact and solid. You know it won’t break down, but it hardly arrives in style, either. A fitting analogy for our current ‘caretaker’ manager.
Wilcox will ensure that, next season, we’re never in any danger of relegation, but never in any danger of promotion, either. We’ll draw more games than we win, or than we lose, and we’ll see a heavy emphasis on the integration of the u23 side into the first team.
I realise that Russ did get the Iron promoted from League 2 previously, with a world-record for games unbeaten as a new manager, standing at a massive 28 – but can we really see that happening again? Not with the squad currently available to him.
Is this a bad thing? Well yes and no. Currently, the club won’t spend the outlay required to bring in a proven manager, and with the chairman’s current strike rate for picking a successful gaffer – including the dismissal of Wilcox – you can imagine why. Russ is the steady pair of hands, the trusted choice. The Volvo to the Fiat. It tallies with the ambition next season one would expect, consolidation and an emphasis on reaping the rewards of the u23 set up.
Can we really expect more? Probably not at this stage, COVID-19 has battered lower league clubs in this country, especially clubs like ours. If we have a club to support when this whole crisis is over, we’ll have done well. Take a look at Wigan, who have just gone into administration.
I think the key here is to be realistic, we are a League 2 club with the budget of a League 2 club, which is currently suffering from 2 primary factors. The first is the COVID-19 situation, as all clubs are, the second is our hangover from flirting with the Championship.
We must now cut our cloth accordingly, and that, I suspect, will include retaining Russ as manager for the forthcoming season.