So the head ‘lady’ has relinquished her throne. Without the Gibbons in post, the chances of a Jim Gannon return may have lessened. Not only were they his strongest advocates at Board-level, but close family friends. They even adopted his cat!
His first stint in English management was a success with League 2 survival from the ‘jaws of extinction’ – followed by promotion via a Wembley-play off against Rochdale. This time certainly heralded the development of some good young players before the financial woes and need to sell them. Remember, Tommy Rowe, Anthony Pilkington, Liam Dickinson to name but three. The latter’s boots are proudly displayed in our offices. Were these players the results of ‘JG’ or do Peter Ward (assistant) or Alan Lord (youth) deserve the credit?
But can a return to a former managerial seat work? Not always. Gannon was released by the Administrator as an immediate cost-cutting. His remuneration package at that time could most definitely not fit with a package suitable for the Blue Square Premier League hierarchy. His character has been questioned by some former colleagues. The CV and trail from latter posts at Motherwell, Peterborough and Port Vale have shown different traits. It has been suggested that he wouldn’t speak to SKY in interviews whilst at Edgeley Park, because of a dispute over his installation of satellite dish.
He remains a fans favourite. The final note has to go to our ex-Uruguayan maestro, Danny Bergara (R.I.P), when asked about the qualities of Jim Gannon by another manager:…”I hear he’s a bit volatile?”. Danny’s reply: “Oh yes, very volatile, he can play anywhere”.
Is this newly published book…….and I got it!
“Last season a Stockport team, which in turns is inspired, petrified and tickled pink by the little man with the funny accent, at last made soccer sit up and take notice by climbing out of the Fourth Division where they had wallowed for over 20 years. That in itself was testament to Bergara’s passion and commitment to a game that he cheerfully admits dominates his life 24 hours a day. But if lifting County out of the bargain basement was a monumental feat, what he has created since has been well-nigh unbelievable.” [Manchester Evening News, 1992]
The diminutive Uruguayan remains in our hearts – and now has a Stand named after him at EP. He still remains responsible for one of my favourite quotes: Danny Bergara (R.I.P) when asked about Jim Gannon by another Manager……”I hear he’s a bit volatile”. Danny’s reply: “Oh yes, very volatile, he can play anywhere”.
Buy your copy of The Man From Uruguay.
The debate is topical – with focus on Asian owners. I reported earlier in S’PORT about the lack of empathy in the Malaysian one changing the historic identity of Cardiff as ‘Bluebirds’. More recently, the Owner at Hull City has requested a name change to ‘Hull Tigers’ apparently to maximize marketing and merchandising value. I’m the first to appreciate heritage and thought a compromise could have been Hull City Tigers. In fact a solution first aired on TALKsport. I was taken to task by a young vociferous upstart, saying how would I like it if we became Stockport County Hatters. Well that option wouldn’t have bothered me. I retorted better than a former proposed ‘County Cobras’. Allegedly the Club’s worst sponsorship deal with a success fee only remuneration dependant on amount of Cobra Lager consumed in North West. I was informed it was single figures of crates in a season – this before Cobra established itself in the UK. The County Cobras quip was no doubt over his head – long before he supported our Club.
Fan ownership is gaining momentum. Surprisingly as though its never materialised before at Stockport! I’ll always remain positive about supporters engagement but when I see the new Board at the Stockport County Co-operative I suspect hidden agendas by some. Indeed, one source supposedly ‘in the know’ expects a rival bid from ‘same old faces’ (and manager) may derail the white knights from China. I would genuinely be interested if a part-share arrangement can’t result would the true County fans want the supporters to try and run the Club again – or let the Chinese Consortium have a go?
So ‘JG’ was sacked yesterday after a poor run of form. Defeat to Mansfield being the last straw. The decision was never going to be popular. A West Brom representative has posted on Facebook that it was an understandable, but not necessarily right, move. Oldham supporters on the same forum are saying that they cannot believe that County have removed their equivalent to ‘Joe Royle’.
Whilst, I’ve not always applauded his every move. He certainly was a fans favourite.
But in County there’s more wrong than just Jim Gannon. I never thought I’d say it but I’m rapidly falling out of love with the set-up. I’ll always be a County-fan (and will not stray to other teams apart from taking my Son to watch the ‘reds’). Just lost faith in the people running our club.
Confidential data is still leaking out of Stockport County. Meetings still going on behind officials’ and shareholders’ backs. I’m pleased to report I’m not involved in any and have indeed resigned from the Stockport County Supporters’ Co-operative. A new CEO has been appointed. I’ve met him once and he was pleasant enough and well-connected. The fear is that he might not have the experience and strength to be anything other than a ‘mouthpiece’ for Spencer Fearn. As a top journalist said to me tonight: “where now for the club?”
As to me, I’m working on projects with a focus in the main around sponsorship and licensing including for some of the top brand names and football clubs in the World (a million miles from Edgeley and its’ woes!) as defined in the Deloitte’s “Football Finance Report” and Brand Finance’s “Sporting Brands 2012” intelligence.