A New Era at the Crown Oil Arena
Keith Hill’s departure was confirmed on Monday morning and also his assistant Chris Beech. Beech was Hill’s current assistant manager but had been at the Club for 12-years, starting out as Youth Team Manager, before transitioning to the first team. He was described as “the catalyst, along with Hill, behind the success of the Academy as we now know it.”
It is difficult saying goodbye to the most successful manager in the clubs history, but many fans wouldn’t have believed it would end like this.
Results had deteriorated so rapidly since Christmas the club felt they had to act despite issuing the dreaded “vote of confidence” a couple of days before the game. I find the timing to be quite strange. A loss against Luton, the league leaders, who themselves are unbeaten in 22 games and haven’t lost at home in a year managed to seemingly change “all believe in Keith, his backroom staff and players, and they have our full confidence and continued backing.” To “a new direction is needed”.
In my opinion the board has panicked and in desperation to secure Rochdale’s League One status have made the decision a growing section of the fan base have been calling for. However, there is often no room for sentiment in football and, a new managerial appointment can often be one of the more exciting times of supporting a club with the uncertainty of who will be appointed and the impact they may have.
I previously wrote an article outlining who I would be looking at if this situation arose so I wont go into too much detail but Paul Hurst is still very much a man I would want the board to speak to. The bookmakers seem to believe current Barrow manager Ian Evatt is the favourite for the job. That’s not a direction I would personally go in, but there may yet be more twists and turns before a final decision is made.
At the time of writing, first team coach, Brian Barry-Murphy has stepped up to the caretaker role, assisted by the current head of academy Tony Ellis.
Despite the decision being one I disagree with, I will continue to support Brian and Tony and all the lads and anyone who may be appointed in the future. Survival is still very much in our hands and who ever the board decide is the man or men to lead this club has my continued support in what will be a new era for the club.