Club call (part two)

January 1, 2000

With 17 League 2 fixtures completed, the 2011/12 season is up and running to say the very least.

The range of league points between top club Southend and bottom club Plymouth Argyle has grown to 29 and that between final play off place and second bottom is already standing at 16. The terms ‘Early days’ and ‘Need time to settle’ are less applicable than a few weeks ago.

Changes in league positions between now and the end of the campaign, for most clubs, are likely to be minimal. There are exceptions of course; clubs go on a run to finish well, even to clinch promotion, or alternatively drop like a stone into the relegation zone. It is these features of League and non League football that holds the interest right through to the end of every season; advocates of closing doors by restricting promotion and relegation need to think again, and very carefully.

In the Dagenham & Redbridge edition of ‘The Pirate’ I covered those clubs enjoying life at the top end of League Two. Today I’m looking at welbsites from those clubs currently down at the bottom and looking to turn their respective seasons around.

The financial plight of Plymouth has been well documented, with staff and players making their exits, the club in a perilous League position and working hard to survive. Last Saturday Argyle needed a last gasp equaliser to take non league Stourbridge to a replay but there is a positive it seems, the game is to be televised thus bolstering the financial rewards from the tie. The Argyle website reported the fact under the somewhat ecstatic headline ‘We’re live’. Just goes to show that when you’re down there, even the smallest spark can lighten the day.

James Brent has taken over at Home Park and the club was taken out of administration in early November. Mr Brent’s company had been the ‘Green Pilgrim Company’ and has now changed its name to ‘Plymouth Argyle Football Club Ltd’. Take over well and truly complete, then. It will be interesting to watch the fortunes down at Plymouth over the coming months. You never know, that insurance ad may yet make a comeback!

Whatever you may think of Gary Johnson, he has been a more than successful coach and manager in the recent times and he did recommend a certain Latvian international to Bristol Rovers. Now in charge at Northampton Town and not going so well as many observers thought at the onset. The club find themselves four off the bottom with just four wins and a points haul of just 16. Worrying times you would think for all associated with The Cobblers. To make matters worse an early cup exit at the hands of sort of non league Luton Town will have failed to lift the gloom.

There we go, now in charge was in charge. This on the Northampton website as I write,

“Manager Gary Johnson has left Northampton Town by mutual consent after eight months in charge.”


Saturday’s FA Cup first round loss to Blue Square Bet Premier side Luton Town extended the Cobblers’ winless run to seven games. Johnson, who was appointed Northampton manager in March, leaves with the club 20th in League Two.

“After discussions with the chairman, it was agreed that I part company with the club,” said Johnson.

“I would like to thank the chairman for his support during my time here.”

Gary did at least keep the club in League Two last season, securing survival in the penultimate game.

Gary concluded,

“I am sorry we did not reach the expectations we had set ourselves but I wish the club, players and supporters all the

very best for the future.”

I am pretty sure this latest episode will not mark the end of a career in football management for Gary Johnson.

Dagenham & Redbridge are also struggling following relegation from League One last term. The FA Cup Round One was a good opportunity to bring some cheer but it not to be, at least not on the day. Daggers could only draw at home with bottom placed Blue Square Premier club Bath City; something for Bath and Dagenham though, as the replay is also to be screened live on TV with a home Round Two tie awaiting the eventual winner.

Following the game here at the Mem two weeks ago, Dagenham & Redbridge assistant boss Terry Harris was reported on BBC Sport:


“I think we had one shot on goal and that is a concern, and we know that, we are having a bad time, but we are trying to build again.

“The relationship between us and the club is absolutely first class, we are well supported. At any other club we may have been gone by now, but Dagenham is a special club, and they realise what we are trying to do.”

Let’s hope so.

 Lots of games in the bag then but more than half the season to go and all to play for; doubtless one or two clubs will climb and one or two will fall, we shall see.


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