Date: 31st May 2013 at 8:02pm
Written by:

OK, it`s official: Kenny Jacket is our new manager. I am reasonably happy with the choice for although I would have preferred Steve Davis, I am pleased that the board did not hire any of the has-beens. I was beginning to question Coyle`s ability even before Bolton bloggers pointed out his limitations, while I had doubts about McClaren`s commitment and ability, given his recent run of failures at home and abroad.

Had we appointed Davis, I thought we would have gained a manager, who would have offered us the best chance of a fresh start. Attuned to the modern game and expert in coaching youngsters, he would have brought a refreshingly new and vibrant footballing philosophy to the club in place of the sterile, outmoded concepts we have been lumbered with. I suppose that after Solbakken`s failure, we could not expect another imaginative choice. Did Saunders`s failure prejudice the chance of another young, relatively inexperienced lower division manager getting the job? If so, it`s another reason to complain about the way management foisted DS on us.

If, after at least two gruelling rounds of interviews in competition with a superficially impressive slate of candidates, Jackett has emerged as the strongest candidate, we should be very pleased. But, was the selection panel open-minded in their evaluation of the ability of each applicant? The timing of KJ`s resignation from Milwall, which immediately preceded the sacking of Saunders, seems too close to be merely coincidental, especially in the light of the track record of JM and SM over the past few years.

If Jackett was offered the job 24 days ago, come what may, the charade of the selection process will not be easily forgotten and even less readily forgiven. Apart from illustrating the board`s complete disregard of the fans, the squad and the other candidates, it will affect the relationship between the new manager and the WW supporters. I, for one, need to be convinced.

If this were the case, Jackett has also suffered, losing three weeks in the job, time which he could have used to cast his eye over the squad and form his own opinions of individual players. Given the scale of the projected exodus, he should be involved. How he manages the comings and goings will be a measure of his ability,

Enough of the cynicism, what of Jackett`s credentials? In some respects, he is exactly the sort of manager we need at this moment. He may turn out to be a McCarthy clone – without the bluff Yorkshire veneer – and therefore incapable of operating at PL level. But, viewing our present predicament, I`d be happy if he got us there. And I think he can.

After three terrible years, including five managers in the last fifteen months, the club needs a period of stability. Jackett, who appears to be a careful, methodical, unpretentious sort of fellow, will direct affairs quietly and efficiently. And he possesses considerable experience in improving the fortunes of non-PL clubs. If Bolton fans were loud in their condemnation of Coyle, Milwall fans are genuinely sorry to lose their manager. We could have done a lot worse.

At Swansea, he not only saved the club but also laid the foundations for their subsequent success. Under his management, the team achieved promotion to Division 1 and won the Football League Trophy. Then, he took Milwall into the Championship in 2010 and kept the club there, a feat which two WW managers couldn`t achieve. Admittedly, they were dreadful against us at the New Den but they had a great cup run and they did survive!

Under Jackett, I expect the team to be better organised, a point which will come as a relief to the fans, who have suffered too many shambolic performances this season (and beforehand). This will benefit us in all departments of the game. We should be tighter at the back, better at keeping the ball and quicker moving forward.

Of even greater importance will be his man-management skills. In this respect, I feel that his quiet, unflappable demeanour will improve the atmosphere in the club, defusing any tension and promoting a more positive attitude among the players on the pitch. For the youngsters, upon whom we are going to rely, he will be guide them with quiet confidence. It could ensure the retention of up-and-coming players like Batth, Doherty and MacAlinden. Now, that would be a result.

Having prospered in the bear-pit of the New Den (it’s as dangerous as the old one), presumably he has the strength of character to deal with JM and SM. When he said that he relished the challenge, he probably didn`t know the half of it. And, speaking as a Welshman, there surely cannot be another inept fellow-countryman out there?

What is certain is that, despite our individual views of each candidate, we have to give KJ our full backing. It`s the only way forward out of this mess. Let`s be as positive as Kenny and believe that we have turned the corner.