Fleetwood Town at crucial crossroads – Rob Stocks’ view

Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander

The sacking of Graham Alexander came completely out of the blue. There had been talk among the media after Tuesday’s 5-1 defeat at Gillingham but the concensus was it was too soon – the manager should be given more time.

There were, after all, mitigating factors. An injury crisis at the back, a vastly reduced playing budget and the club’s new-found desire for financial sustainability.

Anyone who has seen Town over the last month knew Tuesday’s hammering was coming. The decision to play three full-backs as a central defensive trio just hastened the inevitable.

It may have been the lacklustre, cautious response to conceding four in 16 minutes which sealed the manager’s fate, but a new broom to lift spirits in the changing room is far from the answer to the problems. Town are lacking in every area.

The summer transfer window was far from a success, with Fleetwood’s gamble on young players yet to show any sign of paying off. Alexander is as much a victim as the architect of Town’s situation.

The club has cut too far, too fast, while still sustaining the high hopes of a fanbase drunk on decade of success.

To an extent the financial rug was pulled from under Alexander’s feet. Fleetwood are at a crossroads, facing a tough decision whether to plough on with their new business model or back a new manager in the transfer market.

Whoever takes the helm, I am convinced Fleetwood must stick to their guns, even if that means fans have to adjust their own expectations.

Supporters have had their cake and eaten it – some of the Football League’s lowest season ticket prices and promotion-chasing football.

That could not continue –no one man should be expected to keep pouring his own cash into a black hole which grows with every promotion.

Relegation would not be the worst thing for Fleetwood – a chance to restructure in a more forgiving environment.

The long-term focus must be on setting the club up to survive in the Football League for decades to come.

That, more than promotion or League One survival, is the real mission for the next man in the Highbury hotseat.