HE’S MANAGED Fabrizio Ravanelli and Georgi Kinkladze but now Billy McEwan has an altogether different task.
The former Derby County caretaker manager was last Thursday given the poisoned chalice that is the job of managing York City. The Minstermen hot-seat, a club recently scarred by financial crisis, managerial volatility and on-field free-fall, is hardly a glamorous job for the 52 year-old but will certainly signify a challenging return to management.
Last Saturday’s away point at fellow strugglers Forest Green Rovers represents a steady start and an improvement from November’s 3-1 reversal to the Gloucestershire club – a result that led to the dismissal of City’s last permanent manager Chris Brass. McEwan, a renowned disciplinarian, will be hoping for an increased level of organisation throughout a side that, in Andy Bishop, has one of the Conference’s most prolific strikers.
McEwan replaces Viv Busby who, strangely for a caretaker manager, offered his resignation a month ago. Busby left under a cloud last week after reports of his exclusion from prospective managerial candidates’ interviews – something which Busby claims to have been promised.
However, recent results have, albeit marginally, improved of late, with wins over Morecambe and Conference whipping-boys Leigh RMI. Next to visit Kit-Kat Crescent are promotion hopefuls Woking, followed by back-to-back games with FA Cup heroes Exeter City. With more than half of the league in play-off contention and none of the remaining sides completely safe from relegation, the next few weeks will be pivotal.
McEwan will have to work largely with the squad he has inherited, but the Scot may look to bring in a couple of fresh faces on loan. The recent financially motivated abolition of the reserve side will mean that fringe players, some of whom have had their commitment questioned, will be fighting for their future at the club. Therefore, it will be no surprise if the squad is trimmed before players are brought in, which will surely be the case in the summer when McEwan has time to re-organise.
The rebuilding will, to the disappointment of the suffering fans of York City, be unlikely to include a certain silver-haired Italian and a tubby twinkle-toed Georgian. The club’s supporters will nevertheless surely be willing to accept increased effort, consistency and stability during what has been the most turbulent period of the club’s recent history.