Gordon Sharrock: Reid can feel harshly treated by Pilgrims

First published in Sport

NO ONE knows better than Peter Reid that football is a results business and that when things go badly on the field it is the manager who gets it in the neck.

At times, however, there are mitigating circumstances, issues that are beyond the control of even the best of operators, that must be taken into consideration.

Unfortunately that didn’t seem to apply to Plymouth Argyle who sacked Reid on Sunday.

Under normal conditions any manager of a club four points adrift at the bottom of the Football League after taking just one point from their first nine games of the season, would expect to be in the firing line.

But even Peter Ridsdale – the acting chairman who pulled the trigger – admitted Reid was on mission impossible from the day he took on the task 15 months ago of fighting the financial fires of a club that was in financial meltdown.

Tales of their cash crisis are legend with Reid paying the heating bill out of his own pocket last winter and the players recently threatening to strike because they hadn’t been paid.

More fundamentally, if Plymouth had not been docked 10 points for going into administration last season, they would still have been a League One club.

“Peter has had to put up with more in a short period of time than most managers have to put up with in a whole career,”

Ridsdale said.

Why sack him then?

Ridsdale explained: “It is crucial that we give ourselves time to attempt to preserve Football League status and therefore it is felt that a change of manager now is the only option.”

Plymouth obviously had someone in mind – a man with a track record for turning things round.

Well, not exactly. After speculation that senior professionals would be asked to run the team until the club is bought out of administration, Ridsdale appointed club captain Carl Fletcher as caretaker manager saying: “Carl has all the attributes to take on this challenge. He will be given every possible assistance to enable him to succeed in his new role.”

No disrespect to the 31- year-old Wales international, but what expertise can he bring to the job that Reid didn’t have in abundance?

Nevertheless, he is confident he can keep Plymouth in the League.

Fletcher said: “I believe that with the current squad and perhaps one or two additions, there is no reason why we can’t return to winning ways, sooner rather than later.”

The implication was that Reid, 55 years old and with a wealth of managerial experience, was missing something that was staring him in the face all along.

All he appears to have been missing was a good helping of support and a little patience from the people who employed him.

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