Yesterday was a day that all Town fans will want to forget in a hurry as we not only put on another lesson in not how to defend but we lost one of the best up and coming managers in football today.
Ever since Graham Alexander was sacked as Salford City manager on 12th October rumours immediately surrounded our Mancunian manager.
But Town fans were given a boost a week later when Wellens declared his loyalty to Swindon as he said “I’ve been offered 4 jobs since I’ve been at this club, it’s wrong of me to take my attention away from the most important thing. The most important thing for me is Swindon Town Football Club.”
Thankfully rumours disappeared as Paul Scholes was made interim manager and Warren Joyce installed as the early favourite, but as time went on and no other candidates were approached or interviewed it became clear they would approach a club for their manager instead of interviewing out-of-work managers in the game.
Then sadly the news came this week Swindon received an approach from the League Two side but this was swiftly rejected by Lee Power, but as time went by yesterday it was revealed Wellens’ representatives asked the Swindon chairman if he could speak to Salford and Town’s owner allowed his talented manager to meet with the northern club, which has led to Wellens’ near two years in Wiltshire come to an end.
I’ll be honest, as I write this, I’m still in the process of digesting this news as up until this week I was confident Richie Wellens would stay at SN1.
I knew if some jobs came up, he would be tempted but I believed him when he talked about the project he had here and taking us into the Championship within the duration of the new contract he signed in February.
Wellens has always come across as an honest, straight talker, it’s one of his best qualities as a manager, his post-match interview was always must listen, as he tells it like it is, not like a lot of managers who use the same old lines they had been taught in their media training, Wellens shot from the hip, and always came across as a man you could trust and would stand by his word.
When he said, “The most important thing for me is Swindon Town Football Club.” On 19th October for me the issue was put to bed, it was done, he would be Swindon Town manager at least this season.
Now can I understand why he’s making this move? Of course, the clubs on his doorstep, he gets to work for his heroes, a big pay increase and the resources available to him dwarf what Lee Power can offer him.
But despite all this I thought he might have shown loyalty to the club and the Chairman who gambled on a rookie manager after his last two appointments at Swindon was a big let-down, I can imagine Lee Power isn’t overly impressed with his former manager this week.
But now that we’re on the search for a new manager who should the Chairman make his number one target?
Would it make sense to give current assistant manager Noel Hunt a chance? So, the players have less upheaval and the same brand of football would continue at the County Ground.
Or does he go for someone proven in management, like Paul Tisdale, Lee Johnson, Simon Grayson, Paul Hurst or Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink?
You may have noticed all those names are managers without clubs, as unlike Salford City I can’t see Lee Power paying any compensation for the likes of Michael Flynn at Newport County or Luke Garrard at Boreham Wood, and in these uncertain times, you can’t blame him.
Finally, I want to thank Richie Wellens for the near two years of brilliant football on display at the County Ground and delivering a League Two title, I’m certain he’ll go on to have a successful career as a manager at the highest level and despite the sad way his time has come to an end he should always be highly regarded at Swindon Town Football Club.