It surely doesn’t often happen that managers are shown the door within a few days of winning what turned out to be their final game in charge, but that is exactly what has happened to Tommy Wright after Town announced his departure this morning (Wednesday).
Arriving in the summer following the decision of Thomas Baillie to switch to Tamworth his stint as Town boss was destined to last for only thirteen games – which nevertheless is more than double Darren Byfield’s six at the start of last season – winning five drawing two and losing the other six.
While that record obviously isn’t title winning it isn’t disastrous either, but looking back Wright was up against it from the start as Baillie had steered Town to their most successful season ever in winning the Southern League Challenge Cup plus reaching the play offs and when he left most of his squad chose to move on too.
Therefore Wright had to assemble a new team while also dealing with the heightened expectations of supporters who were hoping that Town would carry on from where they had left off under Baillie, and although he seemed to be confident and upbeat in his well attended pre-season open evening with the fans similar success has proved to be frustratingly elusive.
He started reasonably well with the highlight being a win over the previously unbeaten Rushden and Diamonds in his fourth game but it all began to unravel four weeks ago when Halesowen ended Town’s defence of the League Cup at the first time of asking in the Preliminary Round, and it was the Black Country side who then dealt Town a hammer blow less than a fortnight later when knocking them out of the money spinning F A Cup as well.
That result, together with the impact of falling attendances, precipitated a budget cut which in turn led to a number of player departures and was soon followed by a demoralising defeat at Hitchin in their next outing. Basement side Leiston were beaten on Saturday but it was hard going and hard watching and two further debutants took the number of players already used to 31.
So barely two months into the season Wright has followed Byfield and Baillie out of the Arden Garages Stadium, and Town are now searching for their fourth manager in less than 18 months since Carl Adams left in May last year.
Those six seasons of stability under Adams now seem light years away, but for now Paul Davis will take on the role of caretaker manager assisted by Steve Walker and overseen by Head of Football Operations Paul Collicutt while everyone waits for whatever is to happen next.