Because of circumstances TBB has been quiet for the past week and a half and consequently a lot of this will have already been covered. In that time though, there has been quite a few things, however small, happen to City. Two of them point to a new way of thinking at Valley Parade with the hiring of Archie Christie as new Chief Scout and Nick Allamby as Fitness coach. These appointments show a clear shift in thinking at City in areas that were desperately in need of improvement. Further to this, a takeover/investment has been close to happening – which I will discuss at another time - and club legend David Wetherall has left the club after 12-years service.
Archie Christie is an excellent appointment for the club - a proven scout, with previous successes at Dagenham, concentrating on plucking the best of released youngsters for the club. For too long City have been relying on signing released players who have failed elsewhere instead of bringing in youngsters to improve and propel into the first team. Christie, should he prove successful, will bring about a change in transfer policy at City and should result in the club producing teams with a more youthful look to them. Not only would this lead to a younger, fresher team, but it should result in City being able to produce more of their own players, and get transfer fees which actually represent their value to the club. A win win situation for everyone. Already having secured the signatures of three youth internationals, one of which turned Newcastle down for Valley Parade, City should profit handsomely from this venture.
Further to this, Peter Jackson appointing a specialist fitness coach is a massive step in the right direction. While I have no doubt that Jacko and his assistant Colin Cooper have an idea of how to keep the players fit, their knowledge of the area will pale into insignificance compared to Allamby’s. For as long as I can remember, City have genuinely looked sluggish compared to other teams. While knocking the team’s fitness levels is an easy way to knock the previous management regime, it has been a genuine concern at City for a good period. When compared to Crewe on the final day of last season, City looked slow, unfit, sluggish and overweight. Fitness is a key aspect of the game at League Two level. Where the players are all of a similar ability, it is the attributes such as fitness and stamina which can make the difference between a mid-table finish and the play-offs. Hopefully an intense pre season with Allamby and his services throughout the season will see the City players have that extra 5% which will put them in front of the rest.
But the biggest news is that City legend David Wetherall has left the club after 12 years. Wethers was Paul Jewells marquee signing in the clubs first Premier League season and his ever present presence that year was one of the key factors in survival. Of course, he will always be remembered for that goal versus Liverpool. Unfortunately for Wethers, he was the one constant in City’s fall from the top flight to English football’s lowest level; but that is no reflection on the man himself. His deferring of wages over a longer contract period sum the man up as he was always one to do his best for the club, which even saw him attempt, but ultimately fail, at keeping the club in League One following Colin Todd’s sacking. Wetherall even translated his committed on pitch performance to his eventual coaching role with the youth side, which saw his team go on an impressive cup run, taking some notable academy scalps such as Southampton. Wetherall will move into his job at the Football League with the well wishes of every City fan and he will always be welcomed back at Valley Parade.