After a terrible start to the League One campaign Bury have announced that manger Lee Clark has been sacked and you can’t say that it hasn’t been coming. With the Shakers currently sitting second bottom in the division it is hard to have any sympathy for a manager who was unable to get this talented group of players to gel. Saturday’s loss to Doncaster was the fourth in a row for the Shakers and was the final nail in the Lee Clark managerial coffin. The signs of unrest and problems were there early on as Adam Thompson, who was only signed this summer, was immediately loaned out to Bradford at a time when the Shakers were in desperate need of a strong centre back. Clark alluded to problems within the squad but the buck had to stop with him and he has been unable to get this group of players firing.
The summer recruitment drive had been a very successful with the like of Jermaine Beckford, Chris Maguire and Nicky Ajose being brought in but they haven’t produced and there was a growing unrest amongst the fans who felt that there was more to come from this talent group.
Whoever takes charge will have their work cut but if they can find a way of getting the best out of the talented squad then expect Bury to move up the able quickly. For the fans I am sure they will be hoping that this change at the top will filter down to the playing squad and the tactics they employ will finally yield some positive results.
Up next in the league is a early season six pointer at Gillingham before a couple of tough matches against Blackburn and Shrewsbury but you feel that nothing is beyond this team if they play to their strengths as proven by impressive home victories over both Oxford and Bradford but just three wins in the first 16 games was not good enough and Clark had to go. For a team that was expected by many to be changing around the play-offs it all has gone horribly wrong but there is still tie to rescue the season and that will be down to whoever is chosen to take the club forward.
Before the season started I had Bury down as my dark horse team. Now that doesn’t mean they will start having equestrian events at Gigg Lane but they were my choice for a unfancied team to sneak into play-offs. This was, of course, before the transfer dead-line day debacle where Clark stated that he was looking at deal a dozen player either into the club or more likely out. Rumours of financial problems were circling and there was a general feeling from most of the fans that the club was a complete Shambles. Player turnover alone was completely shocking and with all the new faces this season it was hardly the ideal or stable platform for a positive season.
However, no one could doubt that the squad had quality. Players like Joe Skarz, Phil Edwards and Chris Maguire had all joined after helping Oxford United to an 8th place finish in 2016-17 and Jermaine Beckford was, of course, the marquee signature of the lot. Despite the loss of talisman James Vaughan to Sunderland you have to feel that there is more than enough talent in the Bury team to have more than a decent season in League One and the fact that they are second bottom vindicates the club’s decision to sack Clark.
What next for Lee Clark?
Apart from his spell at Huddersfield Clark has had very little success as a manager and you have to feel that it could be a while before another club takes a chance on him. His win percentage at The Terriers was an impressive 48.6% but he has never again got close to this sort of figure. His return at Birmingham was a poor 28.4% and then at Blackpool, where he managed just 3 wins in 33 matches the percentage was just 9.1. Kilmarnock and Bury read as 22.7% and 27.3% respectively which are both very poor returns.
His inability to organise and motivate his talented squad at Gigg Lane is stain on his already sketchy career that will have most chairman deciding not to give the Newcastle born Clark another chance.
Who next for Bury?
Phil Neville would be a great choice. He has coached at the highest level with Valencia and also has local connections to the club. He is intelligent and would be a great figure head for a club that needs someone to come in and motivate the squad. Paul Scholes may also be considering applying after his recent interview with Oldham and there will certainly be names like Nigel Adkins and Brian McDermott in the mix. Whoever is chosen to take this club forward will have obe of the most talented squads in recent years to work with at Gigg Lane.