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Top six favourites to become new Crewe boss after club sacks manager

We take a look at the current top six favourites to become new Crewe Alexandra boss after the club sacks manager David Artell.

The Railwaymen saw relegation to League Two confirmed with four games remaining following Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Doncaster Rovers.

The defeat was their 15th in 16 matches, a disappointing run broken only by a 2-1 away win at Cheltenham on the 26th of February.

Artell’s former assistant Alex Morris has been named as interim first-team manager, with under-23s boss Lee Bell working alongside him.

Former Crewe academy player Morris, 38, had to retire playing football because of injuries and never made a first-team appearance, but he has worked his way through the ranks at the club on the coaching side.

He was under-23s manager before being appointed assistant boss in a backroom reshuffle in March.

Speaking on Saturday after the result, an emotional Artell told BBC Radio Stoke that relegation had been “a long time in the making”.

The 41-year-old said: “I think we’ve had six 17 and 18 year old’s make their debuts [this season] and play a good number of games and, however it’s come about, that’s the situation we are in.

“By and large, the young kids have done ever so well, but across the board we haven’t been good enough.”

Alex Morris used his first press conference to praise the job that David Artell did for the Football Club both as a player and manager.

Alex told the club’s official website: “Dave was a real club man and he cared deeply about this Football Club. There won’t be many who have captained and managed the club to promotion and he was a great fella to work for.

“There was sadness amongst the staff and people here because he was a good man and it was an awful day to be honest.

“Myself, Lee Bell and Kenny Lunt have been entrusted in the interim to get a response in the final four matches and that is what we will aim to do. We have been on a terrible run of results, 15 defeats out of 16, and we have to make sure that we give our supporters something to grasp going into the summer because they have left too many games disappointed this season.

The interim manager added: “We cannot guarantee results and we would like to win all four games and that will be the objective, but what we can do is make sure we give the players all the tools and support they will need to put in a better performance and if they can then we have a good opportunity to win a game of football on Good Friday.”

Right then, time to look at the top six favourites to become new Crewe boss (according to Sky Bet) after the club sacks manager David Artell…

1) Richard Walker – 10/11

Walker, 41, is described to be a highly-rated coach at Stoke City, came through the youth system at Crewe from the age of 12.

As a centre-back, he made 115 first team appearances in three different divisions moving elsewhere at the age of 25.

In an eleven-year career he played 185 competitive games, including 158 appearances in the English Football League.

During this time he also played on loan for non league clubs Northwich Victoria and Halesowen Town. He joined Port Vale in 2006, and was loaned out to Wrexham in 2007. In 2008, he signed with Macclesfield Town, before transferring to non-league Hednesford Town the following year. He left the club in January 2010.

He started coaching at Stoke in 2009, was made under-18s manager in 2018, and helped develop many youngsters into Michael O’Neill’s plans.

2) Alex Morris – 5/4

Alex Morris, who was promoted from under-23s manager to be Artell’s assistant last month, is in temporary charge ahead of the final four matches.

Morris, also dubbed as highly rated, has been with the club for 18 years and come through their coaching system with the academy.

Morris told the club’s official website: “We want to give everyone a lift, the players, the staff and the supporters, who I must say have been incredibly patient this season. To be on the run we have been has not been easy, none more so for the Crewe supporters who are the real custodians of the club.

“I have some ideas to lift the place and hopefully we can get that momentum going the other way and into next season. Momentum is massive in football and it works both ways and we have to stop this slide.

“We have to shift it and that starts now. It starts when I address the players and when we go out to train for the first time. I will come at it from a different angle and have a different style and when a change happens at a football club it can be a catalyst for change and improvement.

“I want to hit the ground running and I know I have a great support staff around me. Lee Bell and Kenny Lunt are great coaches and we all bring different skill-sets to the table, so as a trio I know we can get that response from the players.

“We have a good core of players here and with a bit of guidance, a bit of confidence and support we can turn thing around.

He added: “I’m sure I will have ideas that will work and some ideas that won’t work because they all won’t, but if we can get more right than wrong then I am sure we will get the response we need and we can have a good few weeks before the end of the season.”

3) David Unsworth – 5/1

Former Everton caretaker manager David Unsworth is set to leave the Toffees to pursue managerial positions elsewhere.

Unsworth will departed from his position as Academy director and Under-23s manager after rejoining the club in 2013.

He was assistant first team manager at the likes of Preston North End and Sheffield United before guiding Everton U23s to the PL2 title in 2016-17 and the league and cup double in 2018-19.

The ex-defender also made 350 appearances for Everton as a player, and in two spells with the club, Unsworth won the FA Cup in 1995 – the same year he won his only England cap.

“This has been one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in my career,” said Unsworth, 48.

“Everyone knows what Everton means to me, it has been my whole life and I have loved every minute of my time here.

“However, to give me the best chance of achieving my career aspirations – and becoming a permanent first team manager – I believe now is the right time for me to move on.”

4) Michael Jolley – 20/1

Michael Jolley is an English professional football coach who most recently managed League Two side Barrow.

Jolley is a Cambridge University graduate with an MA in economics and also has a postgraduate diploma PGDip/MSc in sports coaching from the University of Stirling. He also holds a UEFA Pro Licence, the highest-level managerial qualification in association football in Europe.

He started coaching in 2004 and has previously held coaching positions at five professional clubs, including Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Lincoln City, Crewe Alexandra and Burnley.

After three years as Burnley’s U23 head coach, he was appointed manager of AFC Eskilstuna in Sweden, joining the last-placed Allsvenskan club in June 2017.

He left the club after it was relegated to Superettan. In March 2018, Jolley became manager at League Two club Grimsby Town.

It later emerged that Jolley’s “expletive-laden rant” to a BBC journalist had contributed to his departure after an off-record conversation had been captured on tape in which Jolley complained about excessively negative coverage of the team and swore multiple times.

www.fanbanter.co.uk – Fan reaction to the latest football news, gossip & funnies

5) Paul Lambert – 25/1

Paul Lambert is a Scottish professional football manager and former player, who was most recently the manager of League One side Ipswich Town.

Lambert played as a midfielder and won the Scottish Cup in 1987 with St Mirren as a 17-year-old, the UEFA Champions League with Borussia Dortmund and all the Scottish domestic honours with Celtic. In his international career, Lambert made 40 appearances for Scotland and played in the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals.

Lambert achieved success managing in England’s lower levels and guided Norwich City into English football’s Premier League with successive promotions in 2009–10 and 2010–11. After keeping the Canaries in the top flight for 2011–12, he managed Aston Villa for three seasons.

Lambert was appointed Blackburn Rovers manager in November 2015, before leaving the club in May 2016. Lambert became head coach of Wolverhampton Wanderers in November 2016 but was dismissed at the end of the season.

Lambert was appointed manager of Stoke City in January 2018, but he was unable to prevent relegation to the Championship and left the club soon afterwards.

Lambert became manager of Ipswich Town in October 2018, but he was unable to prevent relegation to League One, and later left the club in February 2021 after failing to mount a promotion challenge.

www.fanbanter.co.uk – Fan reaction to the latest football news, gossip & funnies

6) Sam Ricketts – 33/1

Sam Ricketts is a professional football coach and former player. He was most recently serving as the manager of Shrewsbury Town.

As a player, his favoured position was at full back, where he was able to play either side as well as being able to operate at the centre of defence. He played over 100 games for Swansea City before playing Premier League football for both Hull City and Bolton Wanderers. He left Bolton in 2013 and captained Wolves to the League One title with a record points total. Furthermore, he represented Wales at international level, making over 50 appearances for the national team.

After his retirement from playing, Ricketts went into coaching, inaugurally spending a week working alongside Brendan Rodgers’s backroom staff at Scottish Premiership champions Celtic. Rodgers then advised Ricketts to begin coaching at academy level to gain experience, with the latter taking his advice and joined the academy coaching set-up at his former side Wolves in 2017.

A year into his role, Ricketts left to become the first team manager of National League club Wrexham, signing a three-year contract, beginning in May 2018. On his managerial debut, his team won 1–0 at Dover Athletic. During his brief spell in charge, Ricketts guided Wrexham to 13 victories out of a possible 23, with his side constantly being in the running to gain promotion to the EFL throughout his tenure.

In December 2018, he was told by club officials to stay away from their FA Cup second round match against Newport County, amid speculation that he was poised to be appointed the new manager of League One side Shrewsbury Town, a local rival. With compensation agreed, he was subsequently appointed their manager days later; Wrexham were sat fourth in the table when he left.

On the 3rd of December 2018, Ricketts was appointed manager of Shrewsbury on a 21⁄2-year contract, leaving a Wrexham side fourth in the table. A 1–1 draw away at Coventry City on the 28rd of April mathematically secured League One survival for Ricketts and the club.

Due to the pandemic, the 2019–20 League One season was cut short and it was decided that final league positions would be based on a points-per-game basis. This saw the club finish 15th in the final table.

A 2–2 draw at Milton Keynes Dons, in which the Shrews led 2–0, on the 24th of November 2020 turned out to be the last straw as Ricketts and assistant manager Dean Whitehead were relieved of their duties a day later on 25 November. The club sat 23rd in League One after 13 league games, gaining only 9 points from a possible 39.

Wrexham AFC manager Sam Ricketts says there is no room for complacency  ahead of Bromley clash - North Wales Live

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