Chester FC are chasing their fourth manager since the club was reformed in 2010.
The Blues board took the decision to sack Jon McCarthy yesterday after he failed to reverse the decline that set in after the start of the New Year.
We asked our fans' jury members whether they thought it was the correct decision - and asked them who they would like to see next in the Swansway Chester Stadium hotseat.
“The decision to sack Jon McCarthy was absolutely the right one. Our form has been terrible throughout 2017 and he had more opportunity to turn it around than most managers would have been given at any other club. In retrospect the right decision would have been to part company at the end of last season after our National League status was retained. It was clear then that he had lost the confidence of a good proportion of the fans. This would have allowed the new manager to shape the squad to his needs.
“While I can see the argument for giving him another chance, and there was certainly much positivity over the summer, borne out by the strong season ticket sales and commercial deals, that feeling has evaporated within weeks. We are now in a situation that really is the worst of both worlds. The new manager now has to work with a squad assembled by his predecessor and we will have played over 20% of the season already.
“As to whom the new manager should be, I don’t favour any individual. I think the board understand what is required in terms of working within the constraints of a fan-owned club and will find a suitable candidate. The one thing I would like to see is a manager that will set up the team to entertain. After so long without a home win it is essential that the fans are encouraged back. Although gates are down, it is encouraging that even with no home win this calendar year they are only really down by a few hundred. String together a few decent results and the funds brought in by those extra few hundred will allow the new manager to strengthen the squad.
“Finally, it should be someone experienced. We have the basis of a good squad and it is early enough in the season that it is still possible to retrieve something with an upturn in form. We cannot risk a rookie manager. The club appears to be on a stronger footing off the pitch now so we must capitalise on that by taking a low-risk approach to this appointment. Whoever gets the job will have my support.”
“It was 100% the right decision. The board have been more than patient with him and to only take one point from Torquay and Solihull is unacceptable. It’s not just the results the performances have been awful – Solihull was arguably the worst performance since reforming.
“McCarthy by all accounts was meant to ‘buy into’ the youth system but on Tuesday Matty Waters wasn’t even in the squad instead replaced by a young lad from Fleetwood who is nowhere near up to our standard. It was a real kick in the teeth for Matty and the youth-team management.
“The best man for the job would be John Askey. It could be a long shot but he has done exceptionally well at Macclesfield and would be a perfect fit for us. Other than that Marcus Bignot would fit the bill while Graham Barrow would also give the squad the kick-up the backside they need.
“Thanks to Jon McCarthy for all the hard work he has put in but ultimately it’s a results business and results have cost him his job.”
“The frustration with our disastrous run of form had turned to anger. The focus of the anger was the manager and not the players. I think it was right that Jon was given the opportunity to recruit in the summer and see if he could recapture the form that we showed up until Christmas last year. But unfortunately it hasn’t happened and the board needed act to act swiftly and decisively before apathy set in and a season still only in its infancy became a financial noose around our necks.
“Some of the vitriol aimed at Jon was uncalled for. Jon showed a real understanding of our club and success under him would have been sweet indeed, but recent media interviews showed his inexperience in the senior role. The pressure showed and I believe the last two performances indicated that it had rubbed off on the players.
“What’s needed now is an experienced head and someone with a genuine affinity for the club to come in and steady the ship. Who knows, perhaps there is still a role for Jon on the coaching side that could mitigate the financial impact of changing the manager? Maybe that is just wishful thinking?
“What is clear is that hard decisions were needed to be made quickly before the situation deteriorated further, for the sake of both Jon and Chester FC. COYB.”
“McCarthy’s gone and I, like most fans, am relieved. He’s a fantastic person and excellent coach but he wasn’t the right manager for the club.
“I was delighted, at the time, when he signed a new contract but for one reason or another he’s had to go. Thank you to Jon for the effort he did put in to try and end this rut, but I still firmly believe that we need experience to move forward.
“I said that I wanted a minimum of seven points from the Torquay, Solihull and Ebbsfleet games. Unfortunately that is not to be but it’s reassuring that, even with the limited budget we have, the board aren’t afraid to act when there are problems within the club.
“Once again, thank you to Jon for his efforts and for being passionate about this club, but this was for the best.”
“Jon McCarthy is a very nice man who has put a lot of effort into the club over the past three years, which shows how much he loved the club. However, I think the board has made the correct decision this time. Most of the fan base had lost faith and couldn't see any way back, especially after the Solihull defeat. The board has done well in listening to the fans. After all, we are a fan-owned club so our focus should be on the hardy fans who pay a lot of money into the club.
“The fans can feel relieved now and can look ahead to a new chapter. Our group of players have loads of potential, which needs to be brought out. Nevertheless, I am gutted to see Jon McCarthy go and I wish him all the best, but the correct call has been made. It now begs the question who will replace Macca? I already have my top three....
“Garry Hill: An experienced manager at National League level who has been at the likes of Dagenham & Redbridge and Woking. He knows this league inside out and has never been relegated as a manager. The only downside is Garry is South East-based. He also has a decent assistant in Steve Thompson.
“Graham Barrow: Graham is a Chester legend having been both a player and manager for the Blues. I have only heard good things about him from fellow supporters and if given the job he would be a fans’ favourite. However, he is currently the assistant manager at Chesterfield, so we may find it a bit tricky to recruit him.
“Marcus Bignot: Although currently helping out the first team at Barrow, Marcus Bignot sounds a popular choice. After guiding Solihull Moors to the National League, he already has experience of this league. He has also said nice words about Chester in the past and he would be a nice fit if appointed.
“The board has to make a big decision on who will be the next manager at Chester FC. They need to understand the model, work well with this group of players, respect the people at the club, entertain the customers and deliver consistent, positive results. The manager would also have to pick up from this current mess and transform us into a successful, solid outfit. Let's hope our new manager can make us an entertaining and exciting team to watch. COYB!”