Sacked Stamford manager Andrew Wilson puts the record straight
‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ so the famous saying goes, neither was it built in 40 days.
Sacked Stamford AFC manager Andrew Wilson was not trying to build Rome but he was trying to rebuild a football club and he has been left hurt and disappointed that he was only given 40 days to do so.
When he took the job the Daniels board game him two remits, improve the style of football at the club and keep them in the league.
Wilson started making his plans to transform the club’s playing and training philosophy unfortunately the results did not come fast enough for the board and he paid the price. However Wilson is adamant the Daniels were heading in the right direction when he was dismissed.
Wilson said: “I am disappointed that results were not good enough. But there is no way we would have got relegated from this league with me as manager.”
“Forty days is not long enough to implement any plans.
Wilson thought he at least had the season to prove himself. “I don’t know how you can give one manager 30 months and then the next manager one month,” he said.
“I was a player scout for Reading FC and I left that position because I thought I would be given a chance. I haven’t even implemented my plans yet. It’s disgusting to have been let go so quickly.”
Wilson became head coach of Evo-Stik NPL strugglers Stamford on September 24 just two days after former manager David Staff was dismissed. When he came in Stamford were fourth from bottom in the relegation zone, when he left they were second from bottom, five points from safety.
Wilson said: “I thought we were building something for the future. I have improved every team I have worked with. That’s what annoys me. If it had got to Christmas and things had still not turned around I would have understood. I might have put my hands up and said this isn’t working but to let me go after 10 games is disgusting.”
He said if he had known he was only going to be given 10 games to turn things round he would have done things very differently, brought in a couple of 6ft 5in players at either end and played “hoof ball” but he was trying to build something better than that.
“The board have to take some responsibility.” He said. “It was not long enough to get a full picture.
“It’s panic thinking, it’s short term. How often do we see it at a higher level that they get rid of a manager quickly and everyone can see its the wrong thing to do.
Wilson had worked with Leicester City’s Academy before coming to the Zeeco Stadium and was head of youth development at Histon alongside the mangers’ job. He is all about coaching, and developing players. He said when he came to the club he found a team who were not used to being coached.
Wilson said defender Lewis Carr was the perfect example. Carr is playing some of his best, most assured football for Stamford and Wilson said it’s because he was willing to be coached and took in the advice being given to him.
He said: “If all the players had his desire and attitude the club would not be in the position which it is in now.”
Much has been made about the high profile departures at the club during Wilson’s short reign. He explains that more than a couple of them were due to financial reasons.
Both striker Greg Smith and midfielder David Bell were wanted by Wilson but the bigger budgeted Grantham Town and Spalding United lured the players away.
He described the difficulty of being a financial minnow in a packed pond of local football clubs, full of hungry sharks. However Wilson said he was not willing to be held to ransom and over stretch the club’s limited finances. He said: “You [the board] have given me a budget. I don’t want you putting your hand in your pocket to pay a bit extra here and bit extra there. How many managers would say that. Most would just take the money. But that’s not how I work I am an honest man. Maybe too honest.”
Some fans have rumbled that Wilson did not have the contacts book to be competitive in the Northern Premier League but he dismisses that. He said: “When you are second from bottom it is very difficult to attract any players, let alone the players I wanted to play the style of football I wanted.”
Wilson said he had been in touch with more than a dozen players who had showed interest in joining Stamford but were bidding their time at their current clubs hoping for a break.
However he believed that many of them would have joined him at the club in the coming months. He added that it was very difficult to convince players to move so early in the season - it turned out they had more patience than the Stamford board.
As for two club stalwarts, the story differs greatly. Wilson expressed his disappointment at losing club captain Richard Jones to Boston United and said he was surprised the club captain had chosen to leave despite being benched for two games in a row.
He said he had brought in new players in defence and needed to see them play. Wilson was once again working on the long game, not the instant fix.
Despite the loss of Jones Wilson undeniably shored up the defence but the goals were slow to come. However against Halesowen they had 17 shots on target and only scored 1 so results don’t tell the full story.
Brad Gasgoine was a key signing for Wilson and one that in many ways cost him as the player failed to be regularly available to bring some ball playing prowess to the defence. The two had worked together before and Wilson said he is a young player of real quality.
“Gasgoine came in and we kept a clean sheet, the first in god knows how long for the football club. But then he let me down and he let himself down a bit.”
As for goals, Wilson lost about 25 a season when he let Ryan Robbins be released from his contract from the club but he said it was a move that need to be made. He said Robbins was a disruptive influence in the changing rooms, and while undeniably a talent on the field he was not buying into the ethos Wilson was trying to instil.
He was confident that with time he could replace the striker’s goals. Only he never got that time.
Drew Phillips, the man he brought in from Cambridge City has found the back of the net twice since joining the club and looks like he could be a regular goal scorer for Stamford.
Despite feeling like the board didn’t give him a fair chance Wilson said: “I wish the club all the best. There is great potential at the football club they just need to sort out some of the back office stuff.
He praised captain Jon Challinor and wished him well as he carried out the caretaker manager duties until a permanent replacement was found.
Wilson added: “To see them get beaten 4-0 on Saturday was disappointing but if I was still there they wouldn’t have lost by four.
“Whoever comes in will have a better platform to build on than when I came in. Everything was better other than the results. And there is a decent squad there with a couple of extra players.”
Wilson said he doesn’t know what lies in the future for him. After an experience like this he says you ask yourself whether the sacrifices and time spent on the game is worth it. But he added, it’s in the blood. “I believe I have got something to offer football.”