Thursday, 28 October 2010

Life, Jim - but not as you've known it

The last 'meet the manager' session at SHS
There was a double announcement from Dumbarton FC about under-pressure Jim Chapman yesterday. First, that he had stepped down as first team manager. Second, that he would be continuing as Director of Community and Football Development. The cynics will say that it's a money-driven decision, and that is bound to be part of the picture. But my first reaction is to think it's a wise move, all aspects of the situation considered. Jim picked up the Sons at a really low point, won a championship trophy in his first full season, consolidated us in the Second Division and won the Stirlingshire Cup last term. He deserves credit, respect and thanks for that... But this time, unfortunately,  it's gone decidedly pear-shaped nearly a third of the way in.

The sad thing is that the youth and reserve teams are going great guns. That is the other key dimension of this move. Jim has demonstrated a huge interest in, and capacity for, the roles that will now absorb all his attention, and that can only be good for the club. As to the substantive issue, I'm always in favour of giving managers the time they need to turn things around when they are going badly. The instant hire-and-fire culture that's taken over the game at many levels is daft. But sometimes you know that, with the best will in the world (and I'm sure there was plenty of that), it's just not working. So a change of dynamics or a fresh injection of energy is needed.

After the past three games, it really isn't clear how Dumbarton are going to move up a league in which they now sit rooted to the bottom. But a consolidated effort is certainly needed to ensure that Sons, if at all possible, don't enter 2011 well adrift. That, I'm sure was part of the decision-making on all sides. We have no idea what things have been like in the dressing room. Supporters always speculate, of course. But personally I am glad that Jim Chapman will still be contributing to the development of the club for a while more.

It's difficult enough to see how we could afford a full-time manager given our resources, let alone two posts. So it will be interesting to see how things pan out from here. Alan Adamson merits strong backing for his first outing as interim manager against East Fife on Saturday. And whatever upheavals there have been, I also hope the fans give Jim recognition and a good berth to continue the vital youth and community side of things. As for the "further announcement regarding an Assistant/First Team Coach" that we are promised "in due course"... Ah well, that'll keep a few jaws well exercised, at least!

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