OPINION: Hoole departure from Matlock Town was inevitable amidst poor run of form
A parting of the ways between Dave Hoole and Matlock Town was sadly becoming increasingly inevitable as bad result followed bad result and it happened after the 6-0 defeat at Basford United on Monday.
Hoole stepped up from reserve team boss in the final week of last season after the departure of Craig Hopkins and Glenn Kirkwood. A likeable bloke, he seemed to have the magic wand as without being able to make any new signings with the transfer deadline having passed, he transformed Matlock into an attractive attacking unit.
Six wins out of seven began his unbeaten tenure in caretaker charge, and with the fans asking for his appointment to be made permanent, it was enough for the powers that be at Causeway Lane to hand him the managerial reins.
With the appointment being confirmed in the final week of last season, the summer would be hugely important from a player recruitment viewpoint. Loan players needed replacing as did key midfielder Joe Doyle-Charles, who opted for a move to Coalville Town to be nearer to his Leicester home. It's fair to say that he has not been adequately replaced.
Recruitment is absolutely crucial, as is knowing the right people and making trustworthy contacts. Hoole, inexperienced at this level, needed to get this spot on.
Winger Jordan Chapell from Chester and striker Kieren Watson, scorer of 52 goals for Shirebrook Town last term, were billed as key outfield signings with goalkeeper Richard Walton joining Town on a permanent basis after a successful loan spell from Lincoln City towards the end of the previous campaign.
Marcus Marshall from Alfreton plus Boston United duo Harry Vince and Jan Yeomans also arrived but for one reason or another the signings have so far not proved to be successful. Only Walton has shown any consistency while Chapell has missed much of the season through injury and Watson has been out of favour.
Every club has injuries at some point but Hoole has been terribly unfortunate. Skipper Adam Yates, Matlock's talisman, has not played since the opening day 4-0 win against Lancaster City and at Basford on Monday, Chapell, Jake Green, Jamie Jackson, Ted Cribley and Michael Williams, all key players, joined Yates in the sick bay.
Hoole's hand was forced in having to resort to youth. The Northern Premier League is a totally unforgiving environment to blood teenagers, even more so when four are in the starting line up. You can possibly get away with one and maybe two but no more. After a promising opening, they predictably faded against a more experienced and streetwise opponent.
The 64,000 dollar question is would Hoole have turned things around? The signs were ominous with goals being avalanched and the players' confidence being shattered. It would have been a huge task.
At some point the club's hierarchy would have had a decision to make and I believe Hoole has done the right thing.
He leaves with deserved plaudits from his excellent work with the reserve and development teams but unfortunately the first team position proved to be a step too far.
Someone else now has the job of firstly steadying the ship and then moving the club onwards and upwards. It won't be easy but Matlock have a reputation of being a good and stable club. The hard work starts now.