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Thursday, March 11, 2010

An Unsurprising Turner Events

As Hereford sack their manager John Trewick, Nobes reports on the predictability of recent events at Edgar Street.

It's a hard task as a newly appointed manager to try and impress your boss.

It's an even tougher one when the man whose approval you're trying to gain is your predecessor.

Perhaps it's no surprise then than less than a year into the job, John Trewick parted company as manager of Hereford United.

In truth, the task always looked difficult for the Geordie when he decided to succeed the long-serving Graham Turner as manager of the Bulls.

Turner, who also owns the club, had been in charge of team affairs at Edgar Street for 14 years before deciding to 'move upstairs' at the tail end of last season.

It was a reign as manager where he helped the club avoid going out of business after relegation from the Football League in 1997 and then, after leading back into League Two in 2006, he took them up to League One two years later.

United always appeared be punching above their weight in the third tier though and were instantly demoted back down, prompting Turner to hand over control to his assistant, Trewick.

Not only did the new man have a tough act to follow, as has been proved at other clubs such as Crewe, following a long-serving manager is never an easy gig.

With expectations high for Hereford to bounce back at the first attempt, the pressure was also on to see the club challenging at the right end of the division. It was a challenge that never materialised.

The Bulls have been dogged by inconsistency all season and have particularly struggled away from home - winning just two out of their 17 games on the road.

They currently lie 18th - a full 11 points clear of the relegation places. However, the fact they haven't been in the top half of the table all season was an obvious disappointment.

Should it have been though?

Hereford are a small club in League Two terms and attract crowds of just over 2,000. Their antiquated Edgar Street ground, too, is badly outdated for the financial demands of 21st century football.

Their promotion in 2008 was a triumph against all the odds. The wily Turner managing to coax a group of prodigious young loan players and some experienced heads into a very consistent team.

As soon as they lost those loan stars however, they always appeared to be out of their depth and relegation was no surprise to anyone.

Was it right then to assume that a side who were in the Non Leagues as recently as four years ago would immediately be in a position to challenge for a return to League One?

Re-Turner, the chairman is back as caretaker manager at Edgar Street

After his sacking, Trewick stated he felt that the club had done as well as could be expected given the transition period taking place in the West Midlands.

Indeed, 18th place is not far away from where United finished in their first season back in the 92 under Turner. Why was that acceptable then but not acceptable now?

Perhaps it's just another case of unrealistically high and inflated expectations. After all, there are many bigger sides playing in the Conference right now who would happily swap places with the Bulls right now.

Inevitably, Turner has come back in a caretaker capacity until a long-term replacement can be found. The chairman hopes this will be before the season is out.

However, whoever is next in line at Hereford, Turner must be prepared to give him a longer and better crack of the whip than Trewick received. Fans must also re-evaluate and lower their level of demands.

They became accustomed to winning games and playing attractive football under Turner, but that takes time, and they should realise their success in the Noughties was a result of that stability built up over the years.

Turner is a likeable and respected figure in the game, he must now add 'patience' to his list of qualities if Hereford truly are to move on from his management.

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