Gazette opinion: Terry McPhillips' shock departure allows Blackpool to plan for exciting future

So here we are, fewer than 12 months since Gary Bowyer dropped the bombshell of all bombshells by handing in his resignation just one game into the season, Blackpool are without a manager once again.

Saturday, 6th July 2019, 1:50 am
Could Simon Grayson be the man to replace Terry McPhillips?

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Early bookies' odds for next Blackpool manager following Terry McPhillips' surpr...

This time it is his former number two Terry McPhillips who has decided to step aside after just one season in management.

“I never really had any intention of becoming a manager”, McPhillips said in the club statement announcing his departure.

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That won’t come as a major surprise to many, given the 50-year-old was initially reluctant to take the job in the first place.

However, it does seem like curious timing of coming to such a realisation 10 months into the role, having already made five signings for the coming season, especially when talks over a new contract had already taken place.

Andy Preece was being lined up as the new assistant manager and McPhillips was supposedly readying himself to take the squad up to Scotland for their pre-season training camp on Sunday.

Does that suggest McPhillips was jumped before he was pushed, with new owner Simon Sadler wanting his own man going forwards?

Not necessarily, but from the conversations I’ve had with people behind the scenes at Bloomfield Road - going back to May time - there has been a feeling for a while that the club was in need of a young and hungry man capable of playing an attacking brand of attacking, entertaining football to lead the club into a new era.

Does Simon Grayson fit the bill? I’m not so sure, but it’s the ex-Pool boss who is currently the overwhelming favourite with the bookies.

The 49-year-old, who began his managerial career at Bloomfield Road, has already held talks with the club, whose hierarchy were told of McPhillips’ desire to leave on Tuesday, giving them the rest of the week to meet with prospective candidates.

I’m not expecting the club to hang around with this, there’s a chance the new man will be installed this weekend to fit in with the players’ departure to St Andrew’s. I understand the deal is already done, it’s just a case of announcing it.

The club are now in the unusual position of needing to appoint a manager, an assistant and a goalkeeping coach with just 29 days until the start of the new season.

But that might not be such a bad thing, as we all know managers coming into a new role like to bring in their own people. The last thing Pool need is to be stuck with backroom staff the new manager doesn't want.

I think the likes of Micky Mellon and Ian Evatt would be a good fit for Pool, and not just because of their previous links to the Seasiders. The latter would certainly love nothing more than to take charge of the side he earned promotion to the Premier League with.

Mike Flynn is another ex-Pool man who has done a sterling job at Newport County.

However, all three are currently in work and I’m not sure if the club would be able to come to an agreement regarding a compensation package in such a short space of time when they’re expecting to make an announcement imminently.

I also fear this nostalgic desire to see former players and managers brought back, while completely natural, is not what the club requires right now.

But should it be Grayson, as appears likely, Pool will have a man at the helm who has achieved four promotions from the third tier. That, regardless of what happened with his last two jobs at Sunderland and Bradford City respectively, is not a record to be sniffed at.

Football is a brutal business and we’ve already moved on to speculating about the new man, but it’s important to reflect on the good work McPhillips did during his brief time on the Fylde Coast.

Not only is Terry a lovely fella, he also did an impressive job in what must be remembered was his first season in management.

To guide Pool to a 10th-placed finish when he was thrust into a role he didn’t really want to begin with is impressive.

Many looking from the outside, when looking at the league table alone, are bemused when they hear of the supporter’s frustrations with McPhillips.

But it’s fair to say the entertainment on offer, especially after the fans returned in March, was not of sufficient standard. Just 50 league goals tells its own story.

The returning fans never seemed to take to McPhillips' football and there was little faith he was the man who could deliver a genuine promotion charge to the Championship.

As it turns out, with the club beginning an exciting new journey, McPhillips' decision to step aside was perhaps the most convenient decision for all parties involved.