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Interim Team in Charge for Rest of Term

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Matt Doughty has been placed in charge of team affairs at Vanarama National League North club Altrincham for the rest of the season, with Robbie Lawton and Graham Heathcote continuing to assist him.

The decision was taken prior to the New Year’s Day draw at FC United of Manchester and followed a meeting between Doughty, who was appointed interim-manager after Jim Harvey’s sacking a month ago, and chairman Grahame Rowley.

Since taking over and recruiting Lawton and Heathcote, with Alty rooted to the foot of the table, Doughty has led the side to two draws and a win in the Buildbase FA Trophy and two defeats and a draw in the league.

Explaining the move, Rowley said: “Matt and Robbie came to see me to ask where they stood, and quite right, too, because they’ve got to be able to plan for the next week, the next month or even beyond. They have got to be given the chance to shine. We are in a perilous position, as we all know, but if anyone is going to turn it round, they are.

“A decision had to be made for the sake of everyone. It needed clearing up, and I’m glad we are able to do that now by announcing that they will be in charge for the rest of the season. They have made a positive impact and lifted spirits and morale, which is exactly what we needed.”

Doughty welcomed the opportunity and explained why being assistant to Harvey should not count against him: “For me, it’s the right decision, not because I want the job but because the revolving door of managers coming in has to stop.

“It has to stop. People look at this club from the outside and think it’s a circus, and that can’t happen. This is a proper football club, and I will make sure we are right on the pitch now.

“I have done the job for nearly a month, and it has taken over my life, but in a good way. My phone is always going, and I’m always speaking to different managers and agents. But I have proved I can do the job, because I have brought in five players (Gary Jones, Kyle Brownhill, Nicky Clee, Elliot Newby and Andy Owens and all five were magnificent in the draw at FC United.

“Three of them (Jones, Brownhill and Clee) were magnificent in the Boxing Day game at our place, and there’s a case for saying the other two, Elliot and Andy, were our two best players in the return.

“It’s my job now to make sure we get considerably more than seven points on the board in this half-season, and I know we can do that. We’ve got one in the bag, and hopefully there will be plenty more to come.

“I know I’ve been assistant to Jim when we’ve been losing games, but that is completely different to what is happening at the moment. The buck stops with me now. No disrespect to Jim, he brought me in, which I was grateful for, but it was his team. He wanted to instil things into his team, which was fine, but the fact is, I had little-to-zero input on match days.

“I never really spoke to the players. I did bits of the warm-up, but that was it. That’s why I brought Robbie in, because he will have more of an input than I had under Jim, and the same applies to Graham. That’s what you need to have. You need to trust people around you, and I trust Robbie and I trust Graham.

“I don’t know if Jim trusted me. I don’t know that, but I felt I warranted more input than I had. I will give you an example. I said a few weeks ago I could get Gary Jones to the club. I told Jim that Gary’s a friend, I can get him to the club and he’ll do you a job at this level, but he said, ‘No, it’s OK thanks, I’m bringing Simon Lenighan in`.

“I’m not having a go at Jim, just illustrating how little input I was allowed and how different the roles are. That was his decision, but now it’s down to me. If people come to me with this player or that, it’s up to me to say yes or no.”

Doughty revealed Alty may consider an appeal against the straight red card shown to Jake Moult, who otherwise faces a three-match ban.

“There is some confusion over the sending off,” he said. “To begin with, when Shaun Densmore, as skipper, went to ask what was going on, the referee told him Moulty was going for the tackle, but then when he showed the card he said it was violent conduct for reacting.

“I went in to see the ref afterwards to try and clarify it, and he said that, in the aftermath of the tackle, Jake reacted to having the ball booted in his face by getting up and head-butting one of their players. Jake says that didn’t happen, so we need to look at the video and decide whether we want to take it any further.”


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