Saturday, 29 October 2016
John Sadler leaves as county start afresh
That was John Sadler, who was always happy to stop and chat with anyone who wanted five minutes of his time. He also managed to keep a smile on his face longer than most incumbents of the Derbyshire hot seat. Historically, it has not been a role that has guaranteed success and there have been sufficient issues over the years, on and off the field, to write a volume that would dwarf War and Peace.
John did a competent job and stabilised things after the mid-season departure of Graeme Welch. Yet the wind of change is blowing hard across the 3aaa County Ground and the desire for success is strong. Perhaps One Direction might have been more apposite than Elton John, but the feeling pervades that change was necessary, to give the club the lift that is required.
It is hard to argue. After all, we finished bottom of 18 counties, squandered a good position in the RLODC and just missed out in the T20. Perhaps, if we had even been mid-table in four-day cricket, that might have been seen as a season of albeit limited progress. Yet bottom we were, with much to do to make up lost ground. While there were days in the sun, there were just too many where old habits resurfaced and results suffered as a consequence.
Having appointed John Wright to oversee and hopefully transform a T20 record that has largely made us a laughing stock, the search will already have commenced to find someone for the senior coaching role, as well as its crucial accompanying development position. It will be interesting to see who has applied for it, when the onus is thrust squarely on the shoulders of the senior players and captain to make a difference.
Getting the appointment right is another crucial step along the way to success. Under John Sadler, we produced some good one-day cricket, but not enough of it. Whoever comes in has to take us to another level and be prepared for the slings and arrows of misfortune along the way.
Perhaps John was too nice a guy for the role. There will always be those who respond to the arm around the shoulder, while others need a more firm handling. The secret to success in management is knowing what works best with all your staff and choosing the time and place correctly when the latter is needed. In even the best environments, things can go wrong and that is when any coach or manager will earn his, or her money.
Whatever, those who suggested that Derbyshire would take the easy route and simply reappoint from within have been proven wrong. There is clearly a stringent and robust recruitment process ongoing, the results of which will be announced in due course. The desire to improve is tangible and to be applauded, though the inevitable casualties are to be lamented.
So it is time to say farewell, and thank you, to John Sadler, a good and honourable man. He will doubtless make a success of whatever comes next and I wish him well, as I am sure you do.
He always gave of his best and no one can ask for more.