Neil Young believes it is hard for anyone to judge Marcus Bignot's Chester FC reign so far and has backed the Blues manager to lead the club forward beyond this season.
Chester legend Young, who won three successive league titles with the reformed Blues between 2010 and 2014, came back into the fold at the club last week in an voluntary advisory capacity after answering an SOS call from Bignot.
Bignot, who is now the only member of the first team coaching staff remaining after the financial crisis at Chester has decimated the team both on and off the field, was appointed Blues boss in September last year following the sacking of Jon McCarthy.
But after being unaware of the true picture behind the scenes regarding the club's perilous financial situation, Bignot has been forced to move player after player on and piece together a team based on a handful of senior professionals, non-contract players, youth teamers and players turning out for free.
Unsurprisingly, the off-field situation has translated onto the pitch, with Chester eight points off safety and looking certainties for the drop into the National League North.
But Young believes that Bignot, who has polarised opinion among some sections of the supporter base at Chester, is the right man for next season and believes he can only be judged when he is able to put his own stamp on the club.
Said Young: “In the top echelons of football, even in the Premier League, people always believe there is somebody better out there. Marcus Bignot, for me, he has won the league in the Conference North (with Solihull Moors), he has managed in this league at Solihull and he has managed in the Football League. From what I have seen he is keen as mustard and wants to do really well for this football club and wants this football club to do well.
“I don’t see any other person out there that I know in the game, and I am fairly well in it, and there will be some good up and coming managers because that is the nature of the beast, but you can only go with what you know.
“At the moment, in the very difficult circumstances I have seen, you can judge Marcus Bignot when he has an opportunity to put his team out there and put his stamp on the team and go from there.
“Most managers, and rightly so, will come in and just want to manage the football team. You know how cuthroat it is, it is so difficult now, if you lose six games of football you are the world’s worst manager and you are out of your depth.
“Clubs go through managers like I don’t know what and people always think there is something better out there but realistically you have got to give that person the best opportunity they can to be successful on the football pitch, and then take a view of how good or bad they are doing at their job.
“Everybody has got opinions in football and who am I to say, but I have done the job here and other places and have had really difficult times. For me, to judge a football manager he has to be given the opportunity to be one.
“I have done the job and if I was doing what he was doing would I have still been in the seat? Possibly not.
“When you lose player after player and you are losing your staff, people need to understand in football that it isn’t just about losing those players it is what it does psycologically to the rest of the team, it’s that ‘I could be next’, ‘who is going out the door next?’ They are trying to build a relationship and a team ethic and spirit and losing a mate once every week.
“You do beat yourself up and you are proud to do what you do.
“When people criticised me in the two jobs I did previously, Altrincham and Stockport, people have got to understand the situation before they make a judgement. Yeah, I made mistakes and I have made mistake throughout my career and there isn’t a person who hasn’t. But you have to understand the reality before you make decisions on people."
The task for whoever is in charge next season will not be an easy one.
Major liabilities on the playing budget owing to those on two-year deals means that a meagre budget next season will already have had a large chunk spent, leaving very little to piece together a competitive squad unless inroads can be made in the coming weeks.
Young is helping the club in that respect and will be playing a role in recruitment and moving players on while he is advising the club and supporting Bignot, but he did reserve praise for the players who remain and said that the situation they find themselves in is not an easy one.
He said: “When people criticised me in the two jobs I did previously, Altrincham and Stockport, people have got to understand the situation before they make a judgement. Yeah, I made mistakes and I have made mistake throughout my career and there isn’t a person who hasn’t. But you have to understand the reality before you make decisions on people.
“What has been achieved here in recent weeks despite what has been going on, and I am a football man, the players deserve a fairly big pat on the back. They beat Eastleigh, they should have won at Dagenham and I thought, and I was here, that they should have took something out of the game against Dover and I thought they were competitive against Wrexham last week.
“With what they have got going on I think they have done themselves proud, but like everyone they need a result from somewhere and that is the only way you are going to give people a lift.”