Alloa’s pre-season has been cast with a shadow of doubt up until last weeks movement from Alloa and St Mirren. The highly rated Irishman, Jim Goodwin, returned home to St Mirren on a three year deal, meaning Alloa were once again on the lookout for a new boss after losing out to the Paisley side. A lot of punters and bookies had Alloa set to go down the same route as the Jack Ross and Jim Goodwin appointments with someone like Andy Graham. Others had lower-league journeymen, Gary Naysmith and Paul Hartley, frontrunners for the job. However, Mulraney surprised us all with the left-field appointment of former Scotland assistant, Peter Grant.
The general consensus of this appointment has been negative from those looking outside and some of Alloa’s own fans too. To an extent this is understandable as his reputation has been tarnished by his latest job assisting Alex McLeish at the national team. However, I go against the grain with my thoughts of those folk. This could potentially be a pretty big coup for a part-time club like Alloa and one that could prove to be just as successful as Mulraney’s previous appointments.
Peter Grant comes with an array of experience at the top level of the game and one would hope he could bring this into Alloa from day one. Although, it was ultimately a failure at Scotland, working with top players and being part of your national team set up is one of the pinnacles of anyone’s career. There is no doubt some of what he learned and experienced there could give the team a slight advantage in certain circumstances over the season. As well as his most recent job, Grant has constantly been involved at a very high level. His only managerial job was at Norwich, although he was a coach at West Brom, Celtic and Birmingham. These are high calibre clubs and if he is able to replicate some of what he saw at the Indodrill and also tap into those contacts made throughout his time then Alloa could be onto a winner. To have as many top teams on your CV as Peter Grant does, you would imagine he has made from friends along the way who would be more than happy to help him out recruitment wise.
The question of whether or not he is able to drop down to part-time football is something that has been asked many times on forums and press conferences. Grant’s simple answer to this was it’s not really a part-time position for him, he will be constantly working and I love that. It comes across as a guy who’s had it tough recently, failure at Scotland and Norwich being at the forefront, and is really eager to prove a point and prove people wrong. Someone with that sort of attitude should always be taken seriously. Grant expanded on that answer too by saying it is similar to his work when heading up the Fulham youth academy. This again shows how his time at these clubs can be brought in to parts of Alloa.
It’s exactly the type of appointment I wanted. The total novice approach, such as Andy Graham, wouldn’t have worked in this league. These young managers need time to get their teeth into it and make mistakes, unfortunately this isn’t a league that gives you that time luxury. Goodwin failed promotion in his first season and started slowly to the next, many would argue it was these tough times that shaped him to be the manager he was when he left. Alloa never go with the usual suspects but this one does have more experience than prior appointments, however it’s still something new to the league and fresh. Having been in coaching most of his career this is finally the platform that Peter Grant can use to kickstart his management career. He has the experience to hit the ground running immediately but still has the sense of the unknown as he’s very rarely been the number one at his clubs or Scotland.
Time will tell with how this goes as it usually does. The team is still a good few signings off being as competitive as last season and we are already back in Betfred Cup action. There is no doubt the manager is going to have a hectic few weeks ahead filling in the gaps of the squad and improving where possible. Goodwin has left him a fantastic core of players though. The same players that rally together and grind out results. He just needs to add quality here and there and with his own style, continue the success of his predecessor. Paddy Connolly will once again remain as the assistant and Grant has already admitted that he will rely heavily on him in the running of the team. Fresh ideas from Grant from his time down South and Scotland complimented with the know-how of Connolly and senior players like Andy Graham and Liam Buchanan are the ingredients for a really successful structure at the club. There will be plenty of eyes on Peter Grant’s time at the club, let’s hope for Alloa’s sake that his willingness and drive to win that he’s shown in his early interviews as Wasp boss comes into fruition and is evident in the way his team play football.