Dead Man Walking

I was somewhat surprised to learn that Jackie McNamara has agreed to resign his position as York City manager should they fail to get an ‘positive’ result against Braintree this weekend.

I’m well aware from a few York City fans I know that McNamara isn’t a popular character at Bootham Crescent, and it was widely expected that he would go in the wake of the 6-1 humiliation at Guiseley on Tuesday night. However the following day the Minstermen released this bizarre statement:

“Following a meeting with the Chairman this morning, and in light of the disappointing performance and result last night, York City manager Jackie McNamara has considered his position going forward.

It has been decided that, if the team fails to gain a positive result at Braintree Town on Saturday, the York City manager will tender his resignation.

The manager will be looking for a passionate and committed reaction from the players after the capitulation at Nethermoor Park on Tuesday evening”

I’m not sure I have ever known a situation like this whereby a club have openly said a manager will be dismissed if the result doesn’t go his way. Maybe it is the managers way of trying to galvanise the players and make them put in a performance for him. I’d say that’s a risky strategy given that they’ve just lost 6-1 at the worst team in the league to date. There’s clearly something wrong there and if he’s lost the dressing room he’s just lost his job as well.
The second weekend in October is dangerous ground for any recently relegated manager. It’s the stage of the season where a board or chairman might realise he’s made a monumental mistake taking you on, and believes it is early enough to make a difference. For the record Steve Tilson left Lincoln on October 10th after a 4-0 loss at Tamworth. McNamara will be lucky to see out the 9th.
Even if he wins this game where does that leave him? Is the ‘positive result’ clause a one-off agreement or is it a rolling threat every-time they lose a game they should win? Also a positive result is an ambiguous statement to say the least. For York City right now I’d say a positive result would be keeping a clean sheet and getting a 0-0 draw, but will the chairman agree? If they play terribly and score a lucky last minute winner will he enjoy a reprieve? There are far too many variable which I’m sure an employment lawyer would love to pick through. He might have to.
Image result for jackie mcnamara celtic
Celtic have such a rich history of providing inadequate managers to lower league clubs.
York have acted indecisively and disrespectfully to fans and to McNamara. His 6-1 loss to Guiseley should have been the final straw and this messy situation being left too long will only damage the long term targets of the club. If you were an aspiring National League manager would you feel inclined to apply for the York job when McNamara finally goes?
The whole situation is unsettling for everyone at the club. To be 4-1 down to Guiseley inside half an hour shows a complete capitulation and whether that’s a lack of confidence, tactics or resources the manager has to take the blame. From the outside it looks like he’s lost the dressing room and the fans, and to lose both is a dangerous combination. Gary Brabin only lost a portion of the fans and he was dismissed whilst they sat in the play-off spots.
It pains me as a football fan to know other fans are suffering the way York’s are. When they came down they offered us the closest thing to a local derby, and I’ve always had an affinity with York City anyway. It was my first away trip sometime in 1992 and I always had a good relationship with their mascots when I performed as Poacher the Imp, They’re a proper, traditional club not unlike us in many ways and as a fellow fan I find it hard to see what they’re going through without recalling our own struggles over the past five years.
Irrespective of the result on Saturday York City need to act now to save the dignity of their club, and to give themselves a chance of staying in the National League. Once they’ve managed to stay in it the hard work starts, but I fear they won’t see the football league for a good few years now.


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