No, I don’t mean the railways. Today brought in the end of an era as Crewe Alexandra announced that they had ‘parted company’ with First Team Manager Steve Davis after five years in charge.
The general response on Twitter and Facebook was ‘good,’ as ‘SD’ seemed as though he was unable to halt a slide that had seen the team drop out of League 1 last season and slip down to 18th in League 2 this term. The irony of the decision that the board announced today being that when Davis took over he took over a team in 18th place in League 2.
I’ll be honest. For the good of the club I think that the right decision was made today. League status is paramount to a club of Crewe’s size. If we went down we might never come back; look at Macclesfield, Wrexham, Kidderminster. Yet on a personal level I felt very sad. SD seemed a decent, honest man. When manager at Nantwich Town he used to come in to a school I worked in to coach football as part of Nantwich’s community programme. He was great with the kids and, indeed, the school. Ultimately, today boils down to the fact that someone lost a job, no matter how good he was or wasn’t.
However, one man’s loss is another’s gain. Hot on the heels of the departure of SD came the announcement that David Artell – formerly a promotion-winning captain of the club and Academy Director – was appointed as his successor. It’s his first job in management and everyone will wish him well. Passionate, whole-hearted, courageous and intelligent, (probably the first football league manager with a degree in forensic science!) Artell is already a popular, if somewhat left-field, choice.
But back to Davis. There is no skirting around the act that the last two or three years at Crewe have been poor. A small budget, player sales and youngsters not making the required grade all added up. Today it reached it’s head. But this troubled times, particularly the last 18 months, should not subtract from Davis’ achievements at Crewe Alex; A record-breaking unbeaten run that ended in Play-Off glory at Wembley and winning the Johnstones Paint Trophy in 2013 – another glorious Wembley triumph – that meant he was the first Crewe Alexandra manager to EVER win a competition outright. That’s how SD should be remembered by Crewe Alex fans, and that’s why my last comment on it isn’t a comment; it’s a picture. And it says a thousand words.
Thanks for the memories Steve. It’s been a pleasure and I wish you all the best in the future.