You may recall me lauding Charlie Trout a few weeks ago, the former Imps trainee who has made quite a success managing Puerto Rico.
They’re 164th in the world right now, but now there’s another former Imp taking up a role with a country ten places higher than Trout’s team – namely Afghanistan.
Ranked 154th in the world, the Afghan job is not straightforward. 18 of their star players have refused to play in their World Cup qualifier with Qatar. They’re unhappy that money coming into the federation from FIFA is not being used correctly, and that’s why they’ve downed tools.
So, which former Imp is it tasked with bringing the two sides together? Ashley Westwood. Yep, that’s right, Ashley Westwood, former Imp in the very loosest of terms. We were linked with him in 2008 after he left Stevenage, but he hopped off to Wrexham, Kettering, Northampton and Crewe before finally becoming an Imp.
In May 2012, he signed a one-year deal to join David Holdsworth’s Imps. A cool, experienced head at the back was just what we needed, and he spent a glorious month or so at the club, not kicking a ball, before leaving. Instead of turning out for us, he opted to join a former teammate on the coaching staff at Portsmouth – Michael Appleton.
“Ash was almost apologetic, really,” said Holdsworth. “It comes as a blow, but I do understand.
“Ash said he had this opportunity, and he felt it was one he couldn’t turn down, and would I understand and not stand in his way,” Holdsworth added.
“It comes as a blow because I have worked hard on my own in the summer, and I know Ash would have been a good influence on and off the pitch for the players.
“While we have not been too impressed with the timing, I understand, and we have to move on and look for another opportunity maybe.”
So, he is a former Imp, although it’s not expected we played a huge role in his rise to international; management!