With the stakes high, Swindon take a risky gamble

By Jessica Durston - 21 February 2023

Clubs & ActivitiesSport

A column from Swindon Link's STFC correspondent Alfie Howlett.

From the outside looking in the appointment of Jody Morris as Swindon manager is certainly questionable. Surely entrusting a first time manager, with under half the season remaining, is a roll of the dice to say the least. In this latest column I shall explore both the pros and cons of the 27th Swindon manager since the year 2000.

It's safe to say that the CV of Jody Morris is impressive to say the least. Before turning his hand to coaching Morris represented Chelsea 173 times, becoming their youngest ever Premier League player in the process.

After hanging up his boots Morris continued his allegiances with Chelsea as a youth coach. There, as Head Coach of the Under 18s, he won 7 trophies in 2 years. During which time he played a pivotal role in the development of future England international Mason Mount.

Morris would next gain invaluable experience working as a number 2 for Frank Lampard at Derby County and Chelsea. Therefore, this demonstrates the glowing reputation Morris boasts amongst the elite in football. Moreover, the 44 year old will be able to deliver the top rate techniques deployed at the highest level of the game.

In addition Morris' pedigree and long list of contacts could see Swindon attract a higher calibre of youth player.

However, on the other hand it could be argued that the appointment is a risk. Of course every appointment in football carries an element of risk. But none more so than hiring a manager for his first crack at the whip in the hot seat. Morris will be thrown into the deep end with little opportunity to work on new ideas with his team. Furthermore, Morris' new surroundings will be a far cry to those he has worked in before.

With no previous experience of League 2 football it could take the new gaffer time to adapt to the roughest league in the EFL.

Arguably the timing couldn't be worse, with Swindon approaching the home straight, leaving Morris little room for error. This however is only a problem if he is expected to win the race.

Perhaps the objective for the remainder of the season is to build for next season. Potentially this could be a good plan. Richie Wellens and Swindon offer the perfect blueprint for this scenario, with the former gaffer using the 2018/19 season in order to build his famous title winning team for the following campaign.

If history is anything to go by, Morris' chances of success are simply 50/50. There have been some famous cases of Assistant Manager's going on to be outstanding number one's. Jose Mourinho began as an assistant to Bobby Robson and later became football's greatest manager.

On the other hand there have been many examples of assistants failing to make the step up. Look no further than failed England manager Steve McClaren. Only time will tell us which category Jody Morris falls into. 

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