Altrincham have terminated the contract of manager Jim Harvey with immediate effect, exactly three months after he was appointed successor to Neil Young.
The decision was relayed to the experienced former Morecambe, Forest Green Rovers, Chester City, Stalybridge Celtic and FC Halifax Town manager by chairman Grahame Rowley today, following a Board meeting to discuss the club’s perilous position at the foot of the table.
Assistant-manager Matt Doughty, a firm favourite with Alty fans from his days as a fiercely committed left-back, will take the reins for tonight’s Buildbase FA Trophy tie against Blyth Spartans at The J.Davidson Stadium and continue in interim charge while the club carefully consider their next move.
Explaining the decision to dispense with Harvey’s services, with the team twelve points from safety at the foot of the table after only one league win all season, Rowley said: “In common with most people, we felt we had the right person with the right pedigree to take us forward when we appointed Jim as manager at the beginning of September. From coaching at international level with Northern Ireland, as number two to Sammy McIlroy, to managing in non-League, he had a reputation for getting the best out of teams and players.
“Last season at Halifax, all seemed lost when he got the job, yet he took them to Wembley in the FA Trophy and almost pulled off the great escape in the league, so he seemed the perfect fit for turning round our fortunes.
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened, and something had to be done. I accept he took on a very difficult task, but the plain fact is, three months down the line, there is no sign of progress, no sign we are at least heading in the right direction.
“Jim was very disappointed when I told him the news but, when action is needed, it has to be taken. We have been waiting for things to improve, and desperately hoping they might, but there is nothing to suggest our fortunes are about to take a turn for the better.
“There are no green shoots of recovery, which is the least you need to persevere with things as they are and give the manager more time. It hurts to say it, but we are drifting, and, as a board, we simply can’t sit by and allow that to happen.
“This club has a great tradition, with a fighting spirit at the very heart of it, and we want to get that back. That’s why the next appointment is so important. We want to make sure it is the right one, rather than a rushed one. It will be a thorough process, to try and ensure we find someone who can put that fighting spirit out on the pitch”.