His side are six points from safety, he's lost his assistant manager, he has had to move on senior players to ease the financial burden on the club and his latest signing is playing for a rail fare only, but Marcus Bignot still retains the belief that his Chester FC side can achieve the ‘impossible’.
Chester head to Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday in desperate need of three points if they are to give themselves a fighting chance of remaining in the National League beyond this season.
But two good performances in their last two outings, a 3-1 home win over Eastleigh and 1-0 defeat at the hands of Leyton Orient on Tuesday , have at least brought some pride and passion back into the club and help energise a supporter base who have rallied to come to the rescue of the Blues, raising over £80,000 since the extent of their financial woes were laid bare last month.
And while Bignot, who took over from Jon McCarthy after he was sacked in September, is firmly focused on keeping the Blues in non-league football’s top tier, the Chester boss believes that he is the man to lead the club forward come what may and that circumstances have meant he has not been able to be judged fairly having had to pick up the pieces of a mis-spent budget.
Said Bignot: “I left a job and it wasn’t a case that I needed a job for financial reasons, I was happy where I was and had security where I was. I had the balance of one job and being happy and I was getting out on the grass and coaching, which is what I love, and then I had the security of my education background. I had the best of both worlds.
“I was only ever going to move into football for a career move and able to have time to build a football club and have a vision, have a strategy and leave a legacy because that is what I enjoy.
“Coming in it is clearly not a career move, it has become the job from hell. People tell you resign and don’t have it on your CV. But people will respect me more because of everything I am facing and everything that I am having taken away that I am still here, I’m still being positive and I still believe in this group. I still believe we have a better team than I started with.
“But I am up for it, I am absolutely up for this challenge. It is not the here and now and it is not next season, it is the next three to four seasons. I know where it can be and I would love to be at the helm with people who want to achieve that.
“Can it turn into a career move? Yes it can. I am managing on a day-to-day, 24-hour a day basis the consequences of other people's decisions. I can’t make decisions because that has all been taken away from me but I still believe in this group of players, I still believe in myself and I still believe in this football club that we can achieve the impossible. And if we can’t achieve the impossible this season, I am telling you in three to five years lets have this conversation again.”
Before a stint as manager at Grimsby Town, Bignot spent five years at Solihull Moors and was at the helm to lead them into the National League in 2016.
During his time at Moors Bignot helped to oversee the development of the club on and off the field, so he feels he is the best candidate to help Chester pick up the pieces of this season, regardless of what league they are in, and plan a pathway to success in the future, although he stresses that there is no quick fix for a football club who have lurched from crisis to crisis during the most miserable of campaigns.
Bignot said: “The realism of it is that we took a football club (Solihull Moors) with one youth team and a first team with a crowd of 250, we didn’t throw money at it and we didn’t chase a dream, we had a three to five year plan and in that three to five years we got to where we wanted to get to. And if you look back at the football club I have left a legacy, I don’t have to say anymore.
“This has a situation has a (similar) situation as well but it has to have the right people with the right skill set and the same vision. So next season is key. It is key now in terms of makings sure we have a football club but once you have got a football club what are you going to do, where do you want to go and how are you going to get there? Let’s hope we have that conversation with the football club.
“I’ve been there and done it. In the weirdest way, and if you look at my management record, and please God that we don’t, but if we were to go down I am probably at the best stage of my career in terms of management, man management and managing up.
“This experience, other managers pity me. But I embrace it and think it is only going to make me better. It ain’t a level playing field what we are dealing with. I have never once used and excuse, I intimated what we were dealing with but I had to be tight lipped but I am glad it is all out now and I think that has transcended on the terraces. If they see people who are honest and hard working, and maybe that I am too honest might be my downfall, but if we were all honest I don’t think we would be in this situation.”
Bignot revealed that James Jones, Jordan Gough and Paul Turnbull all remained sidelined through injury for the trip to Dagenham.