Were Crawley right to sack Yates?


Mark Yates – www.bbc.com

On Monday, it was announced that Crawley Town have sacked manager Mark Yates and his assistant, Jimmy Dack. On the one hand, both men worked hard for the club and achieved, at least, the bare minimum. Given financial constraints, reports that a fifth of the squad Yates inherited took up four-fifths of the budget, late transfer business, the mid-season takeover and the training situation, matters on the pitch have gone better than they could have done. To have been effectively certain of survival by Christmas is not an unreasonable accomplishment.

While Crawley were never going backwards under Yates and Dack however, it can be questioned whether they were ever moving forwards. The football this season has been consistently dull and a win ratio of 27% does little to justify what has at times been overly defensive play. Although Dack was well-liked at the club, Yates’ lack of interaction with supporters has been a bugbear for some, as has his false-praising of poor performances.

Of those, there have been plenty, the Red Devils having lost by three or more goals on eight occasions. Additionally, they put in one of their worst displays of the season in a 2-0 loss at Leyton Orient, they failed to hit the target in a 2-0 defeat at Wycombe and were beaten 1-0 at home to pre-Way Yeovil. There have been so many no-shows from Crawley this season, that questions have to be asked.

At previous club Cheltenham Town, Yates did well in his first three years in charge. However, his poor recruitment kick-started the Robins’ downfall and chairman Paul Baker has openly admitted that sentiment got in the way of him being sacked earlier than he was. This is a manager who has not overachieved with a club since 2012 and for that reason, this blog would not criticize the decision to let him go.

The question however, is whether a better manager can be brought in. The timing of Yates’ departure may point to the board already having a manager lined up, perhaps a foreign boss with connections to the new, Turkish chairman Ziya Eren. Having a British manager with a knowledge of League Two can be key to good recruitment and eventually getting out of this division, only Paolo Di Canio and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink buck that trend. Incidentally, both of those managers had the advantage of living in England before and the latter had studied lower league matches in preparation. If Crawley were to appoint an obscure Turkish manager who had never lived in England and could not speak the language, one would worry about the direction of the club.

A more likely course of events is that Dean Saunders, Russ Wilcox or Adrian Pennock, among the frontrunners with the bookies, will be given the job. While these managers have the lower league experience, they also have a similar approach to Yates and their CVs are not distinctly better. Mark Yates might not have been the right man for Crawley – but is there a better man?