By Jeff Brazier
Some big changes have happened (and are maybe about to happen) at the top and bottom of the National League table. Ex-Man City player David Oldfield has taken the job at relegation threatened Weymouth and that man again Andy Woodman is in talks with League One Gillingham to potentially become their manager, leaving Bromley fans crossing everything that he stays put at least until the end of the season.
It wasn’t long ago we were hearing Woodman's name linked to the vacant Hartlepool job. The move didn’t materialise, but you could argue the temporary damage was done when Bromley, unbeaten in 12 at the time of rumours breaking, fell to consecutive defeats against Yeovil and Wrexham.
It would be incredibly disappointing if you were a player at Bromley feeling like you were almost guaranteed a play-off spot and potentially doing it automatically, if only they could keep the manager at the club for the rest of the season. The fact is though, Woodman has helped the club advance significantly without a period of time needed to get things moving in his direction and as a result he is going to be one the most sought-after managers in The Vanarama.
Currently sitting 23rd in League One and 9 points from safety, keeping Gillingham up is a tough ask for anyone, but they clearly feel that Woodman is their man. I recall how some felt his lack of experience in the 5th tier would hold him back. Gills owner Paul Scally obviously sees the potential in a manager with Premier League experience working his way up on his own merits and you’d fancy him to hold his own in League Two just in case it’s a worst-case scenario for the Kent side who are 13 without a win.
We shouldn’t assume losing Woodman would derail Bromley’s title aspirations, but you’d certainly imagine it would take a shrewd appointment to keep them on track and who could begrudge him his move given the standard he set from the minute he walked through the door at Hayes Lane.
Brian Stock was relieved of his duties at Weymouth having lost 7 successive league matches and the Terras facing a relegation battle. David Oldfield joins from Oxford City and risks the inconvenient fate of ending up back in the National League South and his old side, currently in title contention sitting 4th, potentially take their place in the National League!
In order to catch the likes of Maidenhead, Southend and Wealdstone who sit 7 or 8 points above them, Weymouth will have the unenviable task of picking up points in their next 3 games against the likes of Boreham Wood unbeaten in 8, Dagenham unbeaten in 5 and Aldershot who have just the one defeat in their last 9 games!
I know Oldfield is a great prospect from a managerial point of view, but you fancy Southend to keep improving even though Rhys Murphy looks to be out for the rest of the season needing knee surgery, because they haven’t got a bad replacement in Harry Cardwell.
You always fancy Maidenhead to do enough simply because of Devonshire’s ability to get results against the bigger clubs as proven against leaders Chesterfield last time out, so if they’re going to suck anyone in to replacing them in the bottom 3 it might be Altrincham, winless in 9 or perhaps Wealdstone, who only have home and away wins over Dover to boast in their last 8 outings.
Who do you think will join Dover (definitely) and Kings Lynn (quite likely) in the 6th tier next season?