Jim Gannon today confirmed he’ll be stepping down as Peterborough manager in the summer. Is he the perfect man to succeed Dario?
Don’t scoff at the suggestion just yet. A manager from the Championship dropping to League Two for little old Crewe? It’s unheard of but hear me out….
I am not driven by personal financial gain or a mechanical professional drive. I have become a devoted family man over the last few years and the separation from the family over the last season has created a big void in my personal happiness and contentment.
–Jim Gannon, March 24th
Living and settled in Cheshire – not too far from Gresty Road – Gannon has apparently struck up a good friendship with Dario Gradi since his brief spell as player back in 2000-2001, so much so that it’s not been unknown for Gannon to take in a game or two at Gresty Road.
But why does him being local make him the perfect manager for Crewe Alex?
Well, Gannon has built himself quite a reputation in his four years as a manager. He took Stockport County from rock bottom of League Two, almost certainties for relegation, to a comfortable mid-table spot in League One in the space of two and a half years.
It was one of those rare occasions where a playing legend turned into a managerial legend. After playing over 400 games in 10 years for County he gave them three years of bliss before their financial troubles took hold last year.
He moved on from Stockport last summer, managing Motherwell for the first half of this season before being dismissed after poor relations, with the regime at the SPL club; weeks later he replaced Darren Ferguson at Peterborough.
His ideals almost replicate those of Dario Gradi. As a manager Gannon has built his success on giving youngsters the chance to shine, he’d much rather bring in a teenage prospect before a mid 30s journeyman. Indeed, he was close to concluding the signing of Jordan Connerton from Lancaster before his departure from Motherwell at Christmas; Connerton signed a three year deal with the Alex last week.
“I`d like to see more managers giving young players a chance. From my point of view, young players are more impressionable and open-minded. They have an enthusiasm and a willingness to learn that you sometimes don`t get with an older squad.’
A man who loves to get the ball on the ground and, though criticised for his refusal to vary his game by even one of his players, Gannon said upon his arrival at Peterborough that it’s the best way to get the best out of footballers. Reading interviews by him you can almost feel a Dario Gradi element to him, he would rather not be in football at all than have to ‘hoof’ it.
Since Dario’s return to first team duties here at Crewe in October there has been much speculation over his [next] successor.
The club have insisted that Dario will be given as much time in the job as he wishes and that any future successor is likely to be from within. We take that to mean from the likes of Steve Davis (assistant) and James Collins & Neil Critchley (Academy coaches). But can they rule out ever going for someone like Gannon?
We did take a major shock with Gudjon Thordarson. Gudjon never had any history to suggest he would embrace the young system, nor did any of his previous clubs ever have anything but negative views of his style of football. We ventured too far out of our comfort zone and did little homework prior to his appointment, so to lose faith in anyone who hasn’t been brainwashed, so to speak, with the Crewe way would be wrong.
There’s no suggestion that Gannon would even be interested in the job at Gresty Road at the moment; he says he wants to remain in his North West home, but that could encompass anyone from Burnley to Bury or Oldham to Blackpool. But we are in a position to offer him the job, whether he wants it or not.
He knows this club and he would, in my view, fit right in. He gets on with Dario and he’s a short drive from the ground and training ground. Leaving Peterborough leaves him a free agent, so no compensation to pay, and as he is quoted at the top of the article it would seem huge wages aren’t his biggest concern.
The only question remains – will the club be willing to act?
It’s highly unlikely. Dario’s settled into his managers hot seat once again and looks to have another 12 months in him at the very least. That should be no reason to not look elsewhere; Dario’s title is still ‘caretaker manager’ and at 68 he is no spring chicken. He did well to steady the ship after Gudjon’s departure but once it was steadied everything has since stood still, if not gone backwards ever so slightly.
So if the chance presents itself to bring in a proven, young manager who can take us forward then there should be no question that Dario must step aside. Unfortunately I don’t think the club have the guts to even think about bringing in a new manager. Both Dario & Chairman John Bowler sound like wounded animals when they speak of Gudjon Thordarson and for the foreseeable future look like they will be in ultra-defensive mode when it comes to management of the club.
Back around New Year, The Sun and The Manchester Evening News both ran with the story that Gannon was to be named Crewe Alexandra manager. Out of nowhere it had appeared in a national newspaper. Unfortunately there was no truth in them (yet?!) as he was later named Peterborough manager.
It may be a pipe dream but I’d love to see those stories return. There is no doubt, in my view, that the club should take a serious look at Gannon and decide if a possible 3+ years out of Gannon would be better than another 12 months out of Dario.
I think it would be.