Sport & Leisure

Robins seek experience as they ditch Doughty despite “marked improvement” in performances

By David Prior at

Altrincham FC are set to appoint their fourth manager of a disastrous season after deciding not to hand the job on a permanent basis to current boss Matt Doughty.

The Robins, relegated from the National League North after picking up just four wins from 41 so far this season, had last month told Doughty and assistant manager Robbie Lawton that they would be advertising the manager’s position.

And just a day after Alty’s home draw against Alfreton Town on Saturday, the Robins released a statement confirming that despite a “marked improvement” in performances, they would not be retaining the services of Doughty and Lawton beyond the end of this campaign.

The club said a “more experienced manager” would be appointed for the 2017/18 season within the next few days.

Manager Matt Doughty has been in charge since Jim Harvey was sacked in December

The statement said: “After due consideration, the Board of Altrincham Football Club have concluded a fresh start is required for next season and decided, therefore, not to retain Matt Doughty and Robbie Lawton as manager and assistant-manager.

“Both Matt and Robbie have been made aware of the decision, and the club thanks them for their efforts after they were appointed in exceptionally difficult circumstances, initially in a caretaker capacity at the start of December, then for the rest of the season at the turn of the year.

“While performances showed a marked improvement, results unfortunately failed to keep pace, and it was felt the prudent course of action would be to seek a more experienced manager to provide stability and know-how for what will be one of the most critical seasons in the club’s history.

“It was a decision that was not taken lightly, given the way Matt and Robbie replicated the same drive and determination they always showed as Altrincham players, but there was general consent among the board that next season was too important for anything to be left to chance and that a candidate with a record of success was needed to spearhead a push for promotion.

Robins celebrate after equalising through an own goal on Saturday. Pic: Michael Ripley

“The process of identifying and installing that candidate is well advanced, and the club hope to be in a position to announce an appointment in the next few days. In the meantime, everyone at The J Davidson Stadium wishes Matt and Robbie all the very best in their future careers.”

Doughty, a former Robins left-back, had been in charge since December when Jim Harvey was sacked after losing all but one of 10 league games in charge, a run that essentially laid the foundation for relegation.

That sacking came three months after Neil Young resigned after just six games in charge.

Speaking to Altrincham Today last month, Doughty had criticised the club’s decision to advertise the manager’s position.

He said: “It’s the board who run the club and make decisions like this, but, for the sake of everyone, it has to be right. The only thing I would say is that you are looking for stability among the players and management, but by going for the open process, that has gone out of the window.

“Robbie and I took over a losing team, and what we have done is galvanise them and get them going again. We have changed their mindset, and the performances have started coming, as have the results.”