A TITLE, a promotion and a run to the second round of the FA Cup have proved insufficient to save John Flanagan who was sacked as manager of CURZON ASHTON last night (Thursday).
In a brief statement, the club cited poor results as its reason. Veteran chairman Harry Twamley added: “We believe the present team can do better. So, with regret, we decided we had to make a change.”
The news was greeted with surprise across Tameside and in Greater Manchester. Flanagan, who took over at the Tameside Stadium in 2011, has to be the most successful manager in Curzon’s 55-year history.
Under his leadership, the Nash constantly punched above their weight in National League North, which they reached via the play-offs in 2015. Even though this season — their fourth in the division — has not gone as smoothly as before they are still in 14th place.
Yet for all his achievements over the last four years, Flanagan has always been unpopular with certain sections in the club, and it’s understood he had to survive a confidence vote over the summer. On the other hand, he admitted to occasionally questioning himself this season, wondering whether he had been at Tameside Stadium too long.
Curzon’s directors lost no time in appointing a replacement. This afternoon they announced the job had gone to long-serving first-team coach Mark Bradshaw, a former Blackpool, Macclesfield and Halifax player.
The Nash have no game tomorrow (Saturday). Bradshaw’s first match in charge will be on Saturday, December 8, when they are away to FC United.
As a result of the FA Cup, ASHTON UNITED also have a free day. They return to action on Tuesday when they face Alfreton Town at Hurst Cross.
In the Evo-stik NPL premier division, HYDE UNITED face Grantham at Ewen Fields with a string of absentees.
John McCombe and Ross Daly must both serve one-game bans for accumulated bookings, and there are serious doubts over Matty Hughes, Kyle Harrison and Tom Pratt.
On the plus side, defender Dom Smalley’s loan from Chester has finally gone through and Janni Lipka comes back after suspension. Grant Roberts returns after missing the Warrington defeat and long-term injury Chris Sutherland has been responding well to a new form of treatment on his Achilles tendon.
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC will be without full-backs Scott Wilson (ankle) and Josh Solomon-Davies when they travel to Bamber Bridge.
Manager Simon Haworth expressed disappointment with the display his side gave when losing to Workington in the FA Trophy last week and is expecting a big improvement as the Bridge look to stay in contention for the play-offs.
In the first division west, co-boss Dave Wild returns to the dug-out for MOSSLEY after completing a three-game touchline ban.
For the visit to Newcastle Town he has several players unavailable. Steve Mason still has two games left of his six-match suspension for back-to-back red cards, and Adam Jones has one game left of a four-match ban.
There are doubts over Mason Duffy (hamstring), Kieran Nolan (ankle) and Dieter Downey (groin). Izzy Miranda has a broken hand but should be able to play.
It remains to be seen if the absences will allow Wild to make the changes he promised after the 2-0 home defeat by Kendal, when he felt obliged to apologise for what he described as a shambolic second-half performance.
He added: “I’ll be quite frank. There are lads who just played in that game who won’t play for Mossley again.”
Paul Marshall comes back for GLOSSOP NORTH END at Colwyn Bay but Mitch Bryant starts a three-match suspension.
DROYSLDEN are at full strength for their visit to Trafford.