Paul Stewart column: Gary Bowyer has unfinished business with Blackpool

As the dust settles and the wind of change sweeps through Bloomfield Road, and the interim board try to make sense of what the old regime left behind, I wonder what the young former manager thinks about his decision to walk away so early on in the season.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 7:00 am
Gary Bowyer and Terry McPhillips previously built a successful partnership at Bloomfield Road
Gary Bowyer and Terry McPhillips previously built a successful partnership at Bloomfield Road

Is he thinking, ‘Maybe I should have stayed and ridden out the storm?’

Gary Bowyer must have looked at the events that unfolded over the last few weeks and questioned if he made the right decision to turn his back on the manager’s role, a position he was excelling at, despite the debacle going on behind the scenes.

I, for one, feel he made the correct the decision. It must have been virtually impossible to continue to manage a team and run a football club with the off-field uncertainty that was hampering his coaching ability.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Only Gary knows what really happened behind the scenes and, for me, the fact that he never once publicly criticised the club or justified his reasons for walking away shows the integrity of the man.

For such a young manager in only his second coaching role – the first having been under the Blackburn owners, who have also had heavy criticism from supporters – he must have felt he’d jumped out of the frying pan into the fire having to deal with the Oystons and all the baggage that came with them.

That says an awful lot for his dignity in my opinion.

It would have been easy for him to publicly blame the off-field problems as the reason why he left but he refused to spill the beans, which would not have been the case with far more experienced managers or coaches.

Having had the pleasure of talking with Gary over the phone, never once did he criticise the club in the media or anywhere for that matter.

On the contrary, he has handled himself with the integrity of a man who has managed clubs at the highest level for years.

He was full of praise for his former assistant Terry McPhillips and how the players have conducted themselves on and off the field.

I am not sure what plans he has for the future as this was not discussed, though I do feel he believes he has unfinished business at Blackpool FC.

So it is very difficult to ascertain what his future plans are but one thing is for sure – I don’t think he would ever undermine the present manager, although I did hear that Terry McPhillips would be happy to work with Gary again when he addressed the supporters at last Saturday’s BST meeting at the Village Hotel.

Maybe it would be prudent for the interim board to look at his situation as one of their first agendas as I believe it won’t be long before a club offers him a job.

I believe he will learn his trade elsewhere, emerge as one of the best of the new breed of coaches and go on to have an immensely successful career in football management.

Again, I don’t want to undermine the present manager. He may well have a case for saying that he has performed miracles in the circumstances, which one couldn’t argue against.

But for me – and this is my opinion and mine alone – I would approach Gary Bowyer and ask whether he would consider returning before he is snapped up by another club.