DINO Maamria publicly signed a contract with Northwich Vics on Saturday and immediately set about performing miracles.
The popular 33-year-old former striker, who used to torment Vics defences whichever club he found himself with, is the club’s 54th manager in 50 years and their 10th since the turn of the millennium.
But he now has 18 months to turn Vics into a power once more – and just over four months to make sure they don’t go down.
“Now we can put this club back where it belongs,’ said Maamria. “I am going to save Northwich from relegation and prove everyone wrong. A lot of people had written us off.’
And well they might.
When he took over, Vics had had more managers this season than they had won points.
He refused to write Vics off as a lost cause, saying January was the time to make a judgement.
In just 13 games he has turned losers into winners and stood up to three players who were undermining his leadership.
Vics have now picked up seven points from the last nine and, although still bottom, they only trail Droylsden on goal difference and are only seven more points from the safety position.
No wonder Vics’ new owners made tying Maamria to a contract a priority.
Jim Rushe said: “We were determined to keep Dino. Once the takeover was done everything else had to wait.
“He has done extremely well and that is why we got him to sign out on the pitch.”
Much may depend on who Maamria is able to sign – and move on – during the January transfer window, which coincides with the loan periods of Natt Farr, Lucas Akins and Nick Farquarson all expiring.
Akins’ impressive form has helped keep Farquarson on the bench and that has not pleased Crewe Alex manager Dario Gradi who said yesterday: “He was supposed to be playing at Northwich – the manager said he would be playing – but he isn’t. We have to look at getting him back and getting him out (on loan) somewhere else.”
All three will be in the unchanged squad to visit Vauxhall Motors in the FA Trophy first round on Saturday.
Vauxhalls are also fighting relegation in Blue Square North and a revitalised Vics should finish the job at the first attempt. Tuesday is set aside for a possible replay.
Vics Supporters Trust coaches leave the Memorial Hall at 1pm and seats cost £5. Bookings as well as details of travel to Barrow, Altrincham and Rushden before the end of year are available on 0870 765 8768.