Ady Gallagher exit marks the end of an era for Lowestoft Town
- Credit: Matt Wilkinson/Focus Images Ltd
Ady Gallagher called time on his 18-year association with Lowestoft Town yesterday. MARK ARMSTRONG looks back on his time in sole charge of the Blues
Lowestoft Town lost a good manager and a good man when Ady Gallagher decided to step aside yesterday.
Gallagher called time on his tenure as boss marking the end of an era for the Trawlerboys.
The likeable boss was the last connection to the Blues' glory days when trips to Wembley, championship wins and play-off finals became the norm for fans of the east coast side.
It hasn't been like that for a couple of years now.
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Lowestoft were considered the region's premier club when they were blazing a trail through the non-league pyramid.
However, the success was bankrolled by chairman Gary Keyzor and when he tried to make the club more self-sustainable and withdrew some of his financial support the empire started to crumble.
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Gallagher has arguably been the biggest victim.
As expectations soared, budgetary constraints on the playing squad were tightened.
The money that supported the success under the management trio of Craig Fleming, Micky Chapman and Gallagher wasn't there anymore.
Gallagher ploughed on in sole charge when Fleming left for Southampton for a youth coaching role and Chapman retired.
But the truth was that when Lowestoft got into the National League in 2014 the club was out of its depth and it was Gallagher that would prove the fall guy.
MORE: Ady Gallagher steps down as Lowestoft bossWith Lowestoft placed in the northern section of the division it meant that a lot of the money planned into the budget to improve the playing squad had to be siphoned away for travelling.
It was a grinding experience for everyone involved, particularly Gallagher. Somehow Lowestoft stayed up in their first season at that level but it was draining for everyone connected with the club.
So much so that Chapman decided he wanted to devote some time to his family outside of football and Gallagher took sole charge.
The problem for Gallagher was it was only going to get tougher.
Given a playing budget that was less than afforded to them in gaining promotion, Lowestoft were relegated under Gallagher on the final day of the 2015/16 season on goal difference after a 1-1 draw against Gloucester.
Some fans unfairly pointed the finger of blame at Gallagher. From an outsider's point of view it looked like that once Fleming and Chapman had stepped aside Gallagher couldn't cope with the scale of the task.
This wasn't the case...and Gallagher was determined to rebuild.
The financial circumstances didn't change though meaning that Lowestoft had to do things differently. The plan was to run with a small squad of quality players to be supplemented with youngsters from the reserves and their academy.
This hit the buffers when the Blues allowed Danny Crow, a striker at the club, to take the club's scholars away under his Road2Pro venture.
It was embarrassing for everyone at Crown Meadow.
Last season Gallagher was forced to name two goalkeepers on his substitutes bench on several occasions just to fill it out. Things came to a head towards the end of the campaign when Gallagher could only name a bare XI during a 3-1 defeat at home to Staines. For a club that was regularly attracting crowds in excess of 500 not to be able to name anyone on the substitutes' bench was unforgivable and unfair on Gallagher. He told Keyzor as much.
There was some uncertainty around Gallagher's future in the summer as he negotiated with the board how much he would have to spend on his squad.
A clear plan needed to be identified to move the club forwards but that hasn't been forthcoming or, if it has, it hasn't been communicated to anyone outside a privileged few.
So 13 games into the new season Gallagher has finally decided enough is enough.
Perhaps a fresh start is what's needed for both parties. Lowestoft can hopefully attract a new coach with fresh ideas so the club can continue to punch above its weight bearing in mind the budgetary constraints.
Gallagher meanwhile can finally draw breath, actually enjoy a few Saturday afternoons before deciding whether he wants to take the plunge back into football management.
He won't be short of takers...but neither will Lowestoft.