Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bobby Williamson - a sorry business.

Well this little jaunt through the life and times of an Argyle supporter wouldn’t be complete without a little scrutinisation of the recently departed manager Bobby Williamson.

He was nominated by $ as his replacement and duly appointed new manager following $’s shameful and shameless, if you get where I’m coming from, departure for Southampton. Strange really. Personally I’d’ve told him to go boil his head but $ had built up quite a close relationship with the board during his hugely successful time here. A relationship that still seems to be quite sound all this time later. Even now it’s the only incident of this type that I can recall unless there has been time and effort spent grooming somebody for an internal promotion.

In the period between $’s departure and Williamson’s arrival bona fide Argyle legend Kevin Summerfield took charge as caretaker-manager. An inauspicious few weeks. Dodgy results and performances put the seemingly unstoppable charge to the title in jeopardy. Promotion was even beginning to look less than certain.

In the 2003/4 season QPR performed the same role as Luton, without the ill-feeling, from 2 seasons before. Ian Holloway’s mob chased us all the way and Bristol City were in the mix too although they needed one of us to slip up on the run in. Indeed they beat us, as usual, at Ashton Gate in the closing weeks of the season.

Argyle were due to play QPR at home in the penultimate home game of the season. A win for us and the title was surely, although not mathematically unless Bristol City lost too which they duly did. The game was sold out for months.

We won 2-0. Gut-wrenching tension as the two teams slugged it out. The first goal was going to win the game. Trigger obliged with a classic centre-forward’s header. Friio wrapped things up. Two late goals. Glory.

[Utterly wonderful links to various stuff here: check out “The 2-0 Moment” if nothing else. If only life was always like that…]

Williamson had won the title in his first game in charge.

He didn’t figure in the post-match celebrations figuring he bore little responsibility for them. A definingly modest action indicative, I feel, of the bloke himself.

The next season started with a bang. Some good results saw us challenge at the top of the league. Surely all this is too good to continue…

It was.

Leading up to Christmas results tailed off worryingly. We slumped down the league and by the season’s end we were relieved not to be relegated.

It was during this time that all sorts of personal allegations surfaced on websites about his personal life. I won’t repeat any of them here. I don’t think any were ever proven to be true but there were so many and they were so viciously repeated so often that eventually Williamson’s position became untenable and he was sacked at the start of this season following some more indifferent performances and results.

All very sad. I said on his appointment that I thought he had taken on the hardest job in British football. The squad had not really been strengthened much during $’s meteoric rise. Good honest pros were to play 2 divisions higher than the one they had been signed to play in. Money was still tight. We needed new players, better players, a stronger and bigger squad. Worse than that BW was trying to fill the boots of a legend whose success just could not, reasonably, be copied or matched.

It has to be said that ultimately BW failed. Then again you could have had a hybrid of Sir Alf Ramsey and Jesus Christ himself and he would still have failed. He did not really move us forward. We ended up clinging on desperately with a squad of players who have subsequently proved to be extremely limited at this level.

Although there are some who would claim this to be a success at this level given our history!!


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