League One Round Up – Hasselbaink Resigns At Burton, Morecambe Up For Sale, Plymouth With Impressive Away Win.

Credit Graham Burrell

After another frantic weekend of League One action we digest the main stories that have hit the headlines this week. With hotly contested games up and down the country there is much to discuss writes Samuel Rowson.

Burton lose their sixth game out of seven against Oxford which sees Hasselbaink lose his job. Morecambe are up for sale putting their future in doubt, Derby throw away a two goal lead to lose to high flying Plymouth, but we start with Exeter City who had an emotional moment during their 1-0 over MK Dons on Saturday.

Exeter’s Number 9 Comes Out Of Retirement

Matt Green with the now named- Adam Stansfield Stand behind, 2018. Courtesy Graham Burrell

For many clubs up and down the country the number 9 is synonymous with great strikers of years past. Take Lincoln as the example here, Matt Rhead, Simon Yeo and even Tom Hopper with the current number 9 shirt and they all bring back great memories. For 12 years Exeter City have not had a number 9 during that time. They were quick to retire this number after legendary player Adam Stansfield tragically died of Bowel Cancer whilst at the club in 2010. He gained this status by helping Exeter out of Non-League and into League One with back to back promotions, with Adam scoring a handful of crucial goals in each of those seasons.

However this number was recently reinstated at the club when they signed Adam’s oldest son in Jay Stansfield, who has recently joined on loan for the season from Premier League side Fulham. The 19 year old came on as a sub in the second half during Saturday’s 1-0 victory over MK Dons. This was amongst emotional scenes at St. James Park, with a standing ovation for the youngster as he came onto the field. Then come the final whistle the teenager was visibly brought to tears as the Exeter faithful chanted his Dad’s song to him as the Grecians were applauded off the pitch. Hopefully this will be an astute bit of transfer business, and that the teenager can make a real impact one akin to what his Dad achieved whilst at the Devon club.


Argyle With A 90th Minute Winner At Derby

Whittaker slotting home away at Charlton. Credit Graham Burrell

With the season already a month old there have been some surprise packages this year. With one of those being Plymouth Argyle. The Devonshire side have started the season strongly with five wins from seven, and currently sit 3rd in the table with only Portsmouth and Ipswich above them. It could have easily ended differently on Saturday as the game didn’t start as planned with The Rams taking an early two goal lead and going in at half time 2-0 up thanks to strikes from Collins and Mendez-Laing. However Plymouth scored and early second half goal from Ex-Imp Whittaker followed by a brace from Cosgrove with his 2nd coming in the 90th minute to steal all three points at the death.

This means that Argyle are the first team to win at Pride Park this season and in doing so have registered their first win in Derby since 1985. Even more impressive was the substitution from the Plymouth Manager introducing Cosgrove with just 15 minutes left on the clock. And in that time he was able to turn the tide for his team and heavily influence the result. Plymouth have another difficult test on Saturday when they entertain another team in the top 6 in Sheffield Wednesday in which their promotion credentials will be put to the test once more.

Brewers Say Bye To Popular Manager

The Pirelli Stadium, Home of Burton Albion.

After only what can be described as a difficult start to the season at Burton, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has resigned with immediate effect. This decision has been made in the days after the clubs fourth successive defeat after losing away at Oxford United 2-1 on Saturday. The 50 year old Dutchman ends his second stint at the Pirelli Stadium with only a 35% win record which is stark contrast to his first. His first stint was a very successful period for both Jimmy and the club, as between November 2014 and December 2015 he won the League Two title and left The Brewers for QPR with the club top of the League One table, having had a 61% win record in the process. However, in the opening seven games of this campaign they have conceded 20 goals which is an average of just under 3 per game. And with only one point out of a possible 21 it is clear to see why Hasselbaink has decided to step down. In the press release on Monday Hasselbaink stated:

 “I have taken the club as far as I can with the limited resources available and it is time for someone else to come in and inject some new energy…”

Dino Maamria will temporarily take over control of managerial duties while the club decide on a successor. Maamria has managerial experience, most recently at Oldham which ended in the summer of 2020 and prior to that Stevenage in 2019. However each of those spells ended with a win percentage of less than 35% which leads me to think they will be speedily looking for a successor which is outside of the clubs current payroll.


Shrimps Are Up For Sale

Sanders vs Morecambe 2022. Credit Graham Burrell

As is the way with modern football, as soon as one club has sorted their financial woes and ownership issues another one springs up into the national media. This time with one of the smallest clubs in the division in Morecambe. They are defying all odds with even competing at this level of the English game but that could just about to get a whole lot harder. I first heard rumours that they could be in financial difficulties when Premiership Rugby team Worcester Warriors were served with a winding-up petition for unpaid tax bills of around £6m. Worcester Warriors and Morecambe are both owned by Bond Group Investments (BGI), however when the news broke about Warriors and their financial difficulties Morecambe released a statement saying that the two clubs finances were separate and that the club is not in any immediate danger.

But since that statement BGI have since announced their wishes to sell Morecambe FC in the near future. There is a positive side to this story though as they have stated their intensions to make sure Morecambe are bought by financially viable owners who will safeguard the club going forward. And as a result are not in any rush to sell the club on. Hopefully they stick to their word and help keep Morecambe afloat in the League until the new owners have been decided upon. This news will not do anything to settle Morecambe fans nerves for the rest of the season, as they haven’t had an easy start to their second ever campaign in the division with no wins and four draws from seven games. Hopefully they can put this news behind them and focus on the football to make sure this isn’t a major catalyst and a season defining moment going forward.