Tomorrow will see Yeovil Town unveil a new management team. If the rumourmill is to be believed, then the man at the top will be former Plymouth Argyle and Southend United manager Paul Sturrock, with the club opting for a slightly unconventional title of a Football Operations Manager to describe the unnamed man's new job.
Sturrock is a man with over 20 years worth of experience in first team management, that came after a fifteen year spell with Dundee United as a striker, scoring 170 goals in 571 appearances between 1974 and 1989 - a rare 'one club man' who spent his entire professional career playing for one team. He also picked up 20 full Scotland international caps, scoring three goals for his country.
In 1993, he moved into management, having been recommended for the St Johnstone job by a John McClelland - a player who was about to head off and play for Yeovil Town during the latter stages of his career. Sturrock helped win them promotion during the 1996-97 season, managing them for 197 games, before moving on to manage Dundee United early on during the 1998-99 season, spending just under two years there, managing them for 85 matches.
Sturrock then chose the career move that would heavily shape his future life, joining Plymouth Argyle in October 2000, and moving down to the West Country. He effectively gave the Pilgrims a double promotion during his time there - from the fourth tier in 2001-02 where they amassed 102 points in winning the title, and then pretty much taking them into the Championship at the end of the 2003-04 season. Sturrock left Home Park 12 games before the end of that season with them sat on top of the third tier, and with enough momentum for his successor to take them up as Champions. He had chosen to move to Southampton - an ill-fated move that lasted just 13 games, as Saints initially took him on as an 'up and coming' new manager, then fired him using the excuse that he wasn't a big enough name to attract players at their level - something that their Board would have known the day that they signed him.
He then moved on to Sheffield Wednesday in September 2004, spending two seasons at Hillsborough. There he took them to the 2004-05 League One play-offs, winning the final against Hartlepool United, and gaining them promotion to the Championship. Overall he spent 104 games in Yorkshire, bowing out in October 2006 after a slow start to the 2006-07 season.
Next stop was Swindon Town, who had just lost their management team to Leeds United. Sturrock came in during November 2006 and gave them promotion from League Two to League One at the end of the 2006-07 season, managing them for 52 games, in which he won half of those matches. He resigned his position in November 2007, where he made a return to Plymouth Argyle where he was initially a success, taking them up to 10th position in the Championship during his first season. However, Argyle were on the edge of financial problems, and in the midst of poor results, he was removed from his position in December 2009, eventually leaving Home Park five months later having undertaken a backroom role.
Sturrock then took over at Southend United, inheriting a club that were in an unholy mess. The Essex club had been in the Championship, but had suffered two relegations in quick succession, at the end of the 2006-07 season, and then again at the end of the 2009-10 season. Sturrock came in during July 2010, with the club under a transfer embargo, and with almost all of their players having left over that summer. Unable to sign players due to a winding up order issued by HMRC, Sturrock played the entire pre-season using trialists of whom he only had verbal agreements with. When the court action was withdrawn a week before the season started, Sturrock signed up 17 players on the day before the season started - many of whom had been trialists during pre-season.
He then led Southend to 13th place during the 2010-11 season, and followed that up with a visit to the League Two play-offs during 2011-12, finishing fourth, but bowing out to Crewe Alexandra at the semi-final stages. At the start of the 2012-13 season, Southend's tax woes came back to haunt them and they were again placed under a transfer embargo, blocking Sturrock from signing players. Despite that, he led them to fourth place at the turn of the year, and a place on the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final. Two weeks before that final, on the back of some poor form that had seen them drift just outside the play-offs, he was sacked - Phil Brown took charge for their Wembley appearance in the end.
Since then, Sturrock has been largely out of work, although had taken up a short term 'advisory' role with Torquay United, with the intention of helping them restructure their club over the summer, and help them with their 2015-16 season recruitment behind the scenes. In a December 2014 interview, the Scotsman had said that aspect of the job was what appealed to him - taking clubs that needed restructuring and putting them back together again: "Normally, the dirtier the job the better for me. The restructuring of football clubs is always what I have enjoyed. I think I have always left every football club I have been with in better nick than when I turned up. Thatís what I enjoy."
With Yeovil Town likely to drop down to League Two within the next week or so, Sturrock will inherit a similar situation to that which he had to deal with at Southend United (although hopefully without the court action from the taxman!) As such, he should be in a position to judge what needs doing - to deal with a side that seems likely to lose more of its star players over the summer, who are out of contract, and how to get rid of the "losing mentality" that develops when you take over a club that has had two quick relegations. As such, it's easy to see why the job role would suit both Sturrock and Yeovil Town.
Major Management Achievements:
1996-97 : Scottish League First Division promotion (with St Johnstone)
2001-02 : Football League Third Division title (with Plymouth Argyle)
2001-02 : LMA Manager Of The Season for the Third Division
2003-04 : Football League Second Division title (with Plymouth Argyle - left club to join Southampton shortly before title)
2003-04 : LMA Manager Of The Season for the Second Division
2004-05 : Football League One Play-Off Winners (with Sheffield Wednesday)
2006-07 : Football League Two promotion (with Swindon Town)
2011-12 : Football League Two Play-Offs (beaten semi-finalists with Southend United)
2012-13 : Football League Trophy Final (sacked by Southend United, with team in final)
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