Season 7 – Crewe Alexandra, League Two
Media Prediction: 3rd
Board Expectations: Gain Promotion
I offloaded a couple of unhappy players in the summer, and got decent enough money for them too, and brought in a few new faces to replace them.
The encouraging thing at Crewe is that the youth teams have some real potential amongst them, so I can always call on a couple of them if we get hit hard by injuries.
We had a good solid season, with our young striker banging in 30 goals in the league. We battled with Oldham Athletic for the title ultimately falling short, but still gained promotion through a second placed finish.
After the season I was delighted by our young striker, as he renewed his contract and actively distanced himself from a move away from the club.
He has the makings of a club legend if he stays this loyal, and if I can add the right players we could potentially get him to the Championship without him needing to move.
League Record: P:46 | W:26 | D:12 | L:8 | F:71 | A:32 | Pts:90
League Position: 2nd
FA Cup: 3rd Round (Brentford)
League Cup: 2nd Round (Doncaster)
EFL Trophy: 2nd Round (Liverpool U23s)
Season 8 – Crewe Alexandra, League One
Media Prediction: 18th
Board Expectations: Avoid Relegation
We started the season with a bang, and stayed in the top two until just before Christmas.
Then it quickly became an increasingly frustrating season, where we would lose at home to League Two strugglers Cheltenham in the FA Cup and stumble to the final play off spot at the end of the season.
In the first leg at home to Charlton we seemed to lift our game and took a 2-0 lead into half time, before our defensive line retreated and we allowed them to pull one back.
In the second leg at The Valley we were thoroughly outplayed and lost 4-0, although that was mainly due to late goals where I had chased the game.
The absolute highlight of season was our EFL Trophy (cup that no-one cares about), where we saw off Manchester United U23s in the group stage, and then comfortably despatched anyone else in our way until we met Arsenal U23s in the final.
By this point I had tweaked things so much while searching for a formula for success, and it appeared as though I had found something when we took the lead and seemed comfortable in holding on until late in the second half.
Of course this is when Arsenal U23s equalised, and I was resigned to losing not just another game, but a cup final. Another couple of tweaks later and late in extra time it was actually us who managed to score what turned out to be the winner.
A tin pot to add to the cupboard!
League Record: P:46 | W:21 | D:14 | L:11 | F:55 | A:39 | Pts:77
League Position: 6th
FA Cup: 3rd Round (Cheltenham)
League Cup: 1st Round (Notts County)
EFL Trophy: Winners
Season 9 – Crewe Alexandra, League One
Media Prediction: 10th
Board Expectations: Reach Play-offs
I freshened up the squad with some new faces in the summer, and after seeing some positive results during the pre-season friendlies I was encouraged going into the season.
After winning 3 of our first 4 games I was even more buoyed, but then sure enough we hit that wall again and nothing I did changed anything. We sank down to 14th in the table and I was called into the boardroom to explain the situation.
I needed 11 points from 5 matches to save my job. Defeat at home to Walsall in the next game left me with little choice but to resign.
League Record: P:18 | W:6 | D:5 | L:7 | F:20 | A:21 | Pts:23
League Position: 14th
FA Cup: Did not reach
League Cup: 2nd Round (Huddersfield)
EFL Trophy: 2nd Round (Had qualified from group but not reached the draw yet)
I was in the job market for a few weeks, being linked with a number of jobs, even a couple in the Championship.
I was approached by Fleetwood of League One but wasn’t happy with their club vision, so I rejected them in the hope that Derby would offer me an interview.
Of course they didn’t, and I was swiftly interviewed by Leyton Orient and Exeter City of League Two while Coventry were also reportedly interested in me.
This time I decided to take the Exeter offer when it came rather than risking an approach from Coventry.