There has been some good, healthy discussion on the coaching roles at the club over recent days. Thank you all for your well-expressed comments.
To my knowledge, no structure has yet been announced. Whether, for example, it includes a role for Kim Barnett to oversee the cricket side is a fair question. After all, he has reported to the board on the state of the playing side, suggesting a remit, temporary or otherwise, on that side of club affairs. I am not aware of the club president doing that before, though of course precedent is not something of which I am a devout fan.
The point I tried to make yesterday was that whoever looks after the coaching, be it John Sadler or anyone else, is likely to have blemishes on their CV, unless they take on the role as a first coaching post. Peter Moores, a very good coach who has gone to Nottinghamshire, has known the sack, as has Chris Adams. There is a lot to appeal in Adams, but there are those who felt he struggled with the Surrey role, where he was eventually sacked. It should not rule him out of consideration for the Derbyshire role, should he be interested, any more than taking on a listing ship, mid-season, where there were obvious things going on in the background, should preclude Sadler. Both men doubtless learned a great deal from their respective experiences.
Dave Houghton was a good man and coach. Then again, so were John Morris, Graeme Welch, Karl Krikken and Adrian Pierson. Gone are the days when a coach could remain in charge for twenty years, like Denis Smith did, when supporters and administrators alike are hungry and impatient for success and intolerant of failure, perceived or real.
Our big mistake, in my opinion, came last winter when we failed to strengthen properly. In putting faith in young seam bowling talent, Graeme Welch, a good man and excellent coach, perhaps expected a faster development of them all. It didn't happen and the one experienced seamer recruited, Andy Carter, just didn't work out.
It was similar to 1970, as Edwin Smith explained in my latest book. Had Derbyshire recruited then, having had a good season, they could have pushed on and perhaps become a really good side. Instead, players retired very quickly afterwards and we were left with too many youngsters who struggled at county level.
To a great extent I don't care who is to be the next Derbyshire coach, because I have no idea over who is available and who would be interested in the role. All I care about is that he has both the coaching and man management requirements for the role, because few have both of those attributes in equal measure.
It is like management in any other walk of life. There are those who are intimate with processes who will handle that side of the job, but lack the people skills which are so important. There are times someone needs an arm around the shoulder and times they need a firm word. Knowing who responds to what is half the battle and picking the right time and place to do both will generally separate the wheat from the chaff.
Whether from inside or outside the club, a big name or otherwise, all that really matters is that the successful candidate brings coaching and people skills to the table, together with a book of contacts that make all walks of life a lot easier.
The sooner we get someone, the better for all of us.