IT’S almost two weeks since Salford City axed Graham Alexander with the club undefeated and sitting pretty in the League Two playoff places.
Since then there has been little indication as to who will take the reins at the Peninsula Stadium, with the bookies seeing a new favourite emerge every couple of days.
Mancunian Matters understands Project 92 will not rush to make an appointment until they are convinced they have found the perfect fit; with trusted aides Paul Scholes, Chris Caspar and Warren Joyce in charge for the interim.
Whilst sacking Alexander came as a shock to many, there were evidently some dissenting voices on the board at Salford with regard to the regime, disgruntled by last seasons midtable finish and the style of football being displayed out on the pitch.
With talks ongoing for a second week between the board of directors and potential candidates, we explore some of the key factors the decision makers and any potential boss will need to agree on before signing on the dotted line.
It is no secret that the Class of 92 like to take a hands-on approach when it comes to the everyday running of the club.
Chris Caspar is the Sporting Director and acts as an intermediary between the board and head coach.
He is in charge of recruitment, and the footballing operation as a whole.
For some managers, working with and reporting to a Sporting Director or Director of Football is non-negotiable.
Former Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook is one who remains at short odds but is unlikely to surrender all aspects of recruitment and would be unhappy at being labelled a ‘head coach’ as opposed to a manager.
Whoever makes the Salford dugout their own in the coming days will have to sacrifice elements of football management to Caspar and focus solely on training ground affairs and picking the team.
THE SALFORD WAY
Having watched Salford under the stewardship of two board members in Scholes and Caspar since Alexander’s dismissal, it is clear that the hierarchy are keen to implement a different style of play on the grass.
An intense press, keeping the ball on the deck and playing on the front foot regardless of opposition seems to be the aim, and in League Two that can be a difficult route to success.
Nevertheless, Salford are a forward-thinking club and have spent good money on players in recent times and will feel they’re as good as any team in the division – and should be capable of playing an attractive brand of football whilst getting promotion worthy results.
More Klopp and Guardiola, less Pulis and Warnock.
The board have invested significantly into their Elite Development Squad – managed by former Manchester United coach Warren Joyce – and are keen to see some of the younger players at the club integrate into the first team.
Brandon Thomas-Asante notably progressed from the development squad and is now a first team regular for The Ammies.
Joyce is one of the favourites to take the first team job and would likely be best placed to work with the young Salford squad, whilst bringing through the young players he coaches at the club currently.
KEEP THE FANS HAPPY
There was a sense of disappointment amongst Salford fans when the news broke of Alexander’s sacking.
They felt he was doing a good job, which on the surface, he was, and it’s essential for the board that this decision doesn’t come back to haunt them.
Appointing the obvious or underwhelming choice (Warren Joyce, perhaps) can leave a sour taste in the mouth of supporters, especially if there is a downturn in form or nothing of note improves.
The fans will want to see someone drop down from the Championship or League One – a Danny Cowley for example – a real statement of intent.
All of a sudden, the longing for Graham Alexander would diminish and they’d back the man in charge on mass, so long as results started positively.
Roy Keane would be another bold appointment that would likely cause a huge buzz at the club, despite him being out of management for so long.
They won’t want to see a seemingly sideways move, someone easily comparable to Alexander, as you’re immediately off to a rather uninspiring start – and the board will know that.
FINANCIAL FAIR PLAY
Salford City are the richest club in League Two by some margin, and also boast a higher value than 13 League One clubs.
It is likely that Salford could pay the wages of some elite coaches, but these days it isn’t as simple as writing cheques and forgetting about them when you’re gulping champagne out of a trophy.
Sam Allardyce was cheekily favoured in the early betting, but unless he was willing to take a significant pay-cut on his last job at Everton, it would make little business sense to even make the enquiry.
Under current UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations, professional football clubs are obliged to spend no more than they earn, as to prevent them from encountering financial problems in the long-term whilst striving for short-term success.
So, whilst it might seem a no brainer to try and lure Zinedine Zidane from Real Madrid to Moor Lane, the money they spend on bringing in their next head coach will have to be accounted for and fit this seasons budget.
The current favourite to land the role, former Salford midfielder Richie Wellens, will cost significant money as a compensation package will have to be agreed before he can be released from his role at Swindon Town in the division above.
HIT THE GROUND RUNNING
Salford haven’t started this season badly, but they haven’t got off to a flier either.
Whoever comes in will need to hit the ground running, as a bedding in period is something the team can ill afford whilst hunting down automatic promotion this term. Appointing someone with experience of League Two and a motivator of men could be essential in guiding the team through what is a gruelling fixture list.