So, for the third time in his career, it’s time for Dino Maamria to move on from the Lamex Stadium and find something new to do with his time. It’s been a pants start to the 2019-20 League Two campaign and we’re feeling the strain of pretty much the whole division on top of us already. If it wasn’t for Scunthorpe, things would be looking a helluva lot worse. But you’d say that about anything when it comes to Scunthorpe.
You can’t dispute what Dino has done at the club. He banged in 38 for us between 2003 and 2006; scoring the decisive 68th-minute goal at Hereford that got us into the 2004-5 Conference playoff final. As a goalscorer, he’s up there in the list of our all-timers. It ain’t bad given the talent we’ve had up top too. He then came as coach under GW MkII; part of the management team that saw us into the Football League for the first time in our history.
Dino Maamria the manager…
But, as gaffer, it sadly didn’t work. After replacing Darren Sarll, not much seemed to look different on the pitch. The style of play was little more inspiring and the results a fraction better. It wasn’t, arguably, until Ilias Chair came in on loan last season that it all started to fall into place. A brilliant run of results got us to within a whisker of the playoffs and hopes were high enough coming into this new season.
Look at our squad on paper (and include all the lads out injured). It’s a squad that should push at the right end of the table. Not scrap at the bottom. First, we couldn’t do a goal at the right end. Dean Parrett’s thunderbastard against Southend was the exception to the norm. Phil then wrote in his programme notes before our home match with Macclesfield that, while we hadn’t scored, we’d not let in many.
Well, that’s since changed – conceding nine in three games, but scoring four.
Look, we know knocks and injuries mean Bragbury End is doubling as a location shot for M*A*S*H. But we’ve signed more players since 3 August than we’ve scored goals. Not all that sure why we were still sanctioning signings last week if it was already being thought that Cheltenham away could be Dino’s swansong as gaffer. But that’s by the by. Maybe a final throw of the dice by the gaffer? Meh. It didn’t work. We lost again. And we’re drifting further from where we want to be.
So, what next?
Mark Sampson takes charge in the short-term. Gary Waddock’s been seen in the away end at the Stadio del Johnny Rocks. And Graham Westley has gone quiet. Suspiciously quiet. Hmmm. The Comet has picked five semi-plausible names out of a hat, meanwhile. Ronnie Henry as manager? No, we don’t see that one happening. But why not? We had Teddy Sheringham and ain’t no-one going to do as bad as he did. Or maybe Sampson is getting the gig for the foreseeable, and this becomes someone else’s dream.
We find the end of a managerial reign a bit depressing. Dino made sense – the man who knew our club, earned his stripes lower down the ladder and who wanted – like, genuinely wanted – to get us moving in the right direction. But it was always going to be harder with each match we didn’t win. The post-match rhetoric stayed the same, but so did the results. The board acted. And now we need someone to come in and tell us how to win matches.
Wake us up when September ends, eh?