My early morning radio interview today changed somewhat with the earlier revelations by Luke Sutton that John Morris had indeed ‘lost’ the Derbyshire dressing room and that the feelings of the players towards him were ‘overwhelmingly negative.’
As those who have been reading this blog since I started three years ago will know, I have always been a fan of Morris and I maintain that he brought a better quality of player to the club than we had seen for some time. I also feel that he has started the ball rolling and the next incumbent of the post may well reap the benefits of his work with an improved relationship with players and further recruitment.
John was always honest, sometimes brutally so, and as a man was very much in the ‘Marmite’ category, the sort of bloke you either loved or disliked. From today’s revelations it would appear the players were generally in the latter category, which made further contract negotiations pointless. That being the case, the recent excellent form has been especially worthy, as they have done it despite strong feelings to the fore.
What I find surprising is the concern expressed in some quarters over the departures leaving us in the lurch, which is far from the case. In Karl Krikken, a man very popular in the club, we have a Level 4 coach (the highest possible) who will keep things on an even keel for the rest of the season, hopefully making a case in that period for retaining the post on a permanent basis. He has able assistance from Steffan Jones, while James Pipe, the physiotherapist, is capable of helping out if required. With a fitness and conditioning coach in the mix too, the loss of a couple of people hardly leaves us short.
As one would expect from a man with his business background, Chris Grant has done a ‘roots and branches’ look at the club and perhaps felt himself that we were top heavy on that side. Just my opinion, of course, but when finances are tight it can come down to a decision on a coaching post or a player. What would you sooner have?
Nor does it leave the Academy short. In Howard Dytham we have another Level 4 coach who has a great rapport with young players and will do an excellent job for as long as required. Meanwhile Andy Harris has made a very good early impression with the Seconds, who looked set to win a second successive game today.
What I have found strange is the suggestion, voiced by Radio Derby’s Charles Collins among others, that Tony Borrington was likely to make a play for the leading role, which is utter nonsense. I think the idea emanates from the clumsily worded press release that suggested his involvement on the playing side, when his role, as I said last night, will continue to be as the link man between the committee and playing side. For a former player it is a logical role.
I spent a pleasant half hour chatting to Tony recently at Derby and he is winding down from a successful career in private education, now working part-time so that he can watch more cricket, primarily his son at whatever level he plays. At 62 he is hardly likely to decide to embark on a coaching career.
Late last night I also realised that I had been unfair to the committee. Having donned my deerstalker and re-read the chain of events it became patently clear to me that there could have been little, if any committee involvement. They meet on a monthly basis and would not have deliberately chosen the middle of a match nearly four weeks hence to break the news. While the timing was unfortunate, it happened. End of story.
It remains unfortunate, especially from a public relations perspective. The legalities will take some time but we will move forward as a club and come out stronger on the other side. Luke Sutton’s assertions on Twitter last night and in the media today have confirmed that the players, committee, coaches and chairman are together, which is good enough for me.
So in closing, a final thanks to John Morris and Andy Brown from me for their efforts over four years. It didn’t end satisfactorily, but they did take the club forward. The genesis of any future success could well have been in the John Morris era.
We should all remember that. But this is the Krikken show now.
Good luck Karl, and congratulations on the new role.
PS If anyone heard the interview this morning, I hope you didn't get the five second blast of Supertramp that I got in my headphones from somewhere when I was talking about the new coaches. I thought the connection had gone, so if I sounded slightly baffled when I was talking about Howard....er.....Howard in the Academy, that was why!