Darrell Clarke has this morning been fired as manager of Bristol Rovers after a disastrous start to the current campaign.
The popular manager leaves his role with immediate effect, despite leading them from the National League to the third tier in successive seasons.
During his past two campaigns he’s over-achieved with a relatively small budget, but this season they’ve struggled and he’s paid the ultimate price.
The Gas are fourth from bottom in League One, four points adrift of safety, but a thrashing at the hands of Doncaster this weekend surely accentuated his removal as manager.
He didn’t help his own cause lashing out at the club and the state of play behind the scenes in his final interview. In an explosive condemnation of the club, he said that a new training ground and ground move was highly unlikely and that budgets would be cut, not extended this winter.
“I’m being honest now,” he started by saying after the Doncaster debacle. “They try and tell me different, but I can’t see the training ground or stadium happening any time I’m manager and, for me, I think it’s the other way. There’s going to be cuts. You have to deal with that. As a manager, you sit here and go right, what do I do? I’ll do what I’ve always done when I’ve been at this football club, I’ll fight for the supporters. My efforts might not be good enough but I’m going to be in there, pitching, fighting, scrapping for them, to be honest with you. Like I said before, this club in the last 30, 40 years, has not had – the only people that hurt are the supporters. Until people say they’re going to do what they’re going to do and get it done, and build, the club will yo-yo from League One and League Two.”
He admitted he was under achieving too, but it seems his words had already done the damage with regards to his role as manager.
“Listen, I’m saying that as an underachieving manager, I have a mid-table budget in League One and I ain’t succeeded this year, I’m underachieving. In the last two years I’ve had a bottom six, bottom eight, budget and we’ve over achieved. This year I’m under achieving as a manager and I’ll take that. My signings haven’t been good enough, without a shadow of a doubt I ain’t shirking responsibility, but it still needs that backing, pushing, facilities to move forward and we’re still in the same place.”
The Real EFL’s Bristol Rovers expert, @TheRogers86, had this to say about today’s announcement.
“Awful news. A lot of fans wanted him out, but he’s the best manager we’ve had for years and albeit this season has been disastrous, he’s the man for the job in my opinion. The owners have a lot to answer for now, no new ground on the horizon, new training ground growing weeds with no sign of a start date of construction, and no money to spend in the upcoming window, I can see some demonstrations against them very soon. Early rumours are Steve Cotterill could be coming in, and with him being a former manager of our neighbours from over the river, things could go very sour very quickly.”
Cotterill is indeed one of the managers who has been mentioned on popular site the Sack Race, with Graham Westley, Ian Holloway and Paul Hurst also in the frame. However, if money is tight, we fail to see how they’ll be able to attract the calibre of manager needed to get them out of this mess.
As for Clarke, he’ll lick his wounds but before long a League Two role will come up and at 40-years old, he has plenty of time to build his reputation back up.
The general consensus is that the sacking is not a positive thing and we’ll sign off with a selection of responses from twitter this morning.
This decision is wrong in so many ways. The only person in a leadership role at the club that the fans had respect and loyalty towards was D.C. & he in turn gave us so much back. This is a panic decision which will not be forgotten!
— Alveston Gas (@SimonDGould) December 13, 2018
Shambles, it’s your broken promises that have caused this mess.
Couldn’t go 2 minutes without seeing you when everything was rosy, now it’s all gone downhill you’re nowhere to be seen ??♂️
— Luke Shearing (@LukeShearing11) December 13, 2018
It’s 100% clear dc was given so many false promises. First the stadium then the training ground and look at the squad he’s been left with. Disgusting way to treat a loyal manager.
— Neil jones (@joner600) December 13, 2018
should be you going. not him.
— Tom Rudd (@thomasrudd_) December 13, 2018
Darrell deserved more than this. Absolutely dismayed by this decision. Yes DC was going through a difficult period, but that's part and parcel of football. We needed to stand by him. I'm glad most of the fans did. He will go on to bigger and better things than Bristol Rovers.
— Pete Leach (@petewasbristol) December 13, 2018
I, like many others, thought you understood our club, but now I'm not so sure. Forget the money, that's second to being a Gashead. Honesty, passion and desire walked out the door today. What's next?
— Rob Davies (@RobbieDavies) December 13, 2018
The club is now absolutely leaderless. Your presence as our club president has been nonexistent and how you cart out Steve Hamer because you don’t want to face the fans and answer questions is embarrassing. You are the problem with this club, getting rid of DC won’t change that.
— Jordan Westlake (@Jordan_BRFC) December 13, 2018