“We will turn it around. I’m sure the supporters will see a group that will be organised and have a structure both on and off the ball and they’ll have clear roles and responsibilities” – Marcus Bignot, 20 September 2017.
Former Grimsby Town and Solihull Moors manager Marcus Bignot has been appointed as First Team Manager of Chester.
It comes exactly two weeks after the sacking of previous boss Jon McCarthy, who left the Blues without a home win in 2017. Since his sacking, interim boss Tom Shaw has led first team operations, only managing one point from nine.
The new boss believes that Chester “need results” but firmly believes that the squad has the quality to turn around the poor start to the season.
“We will turn it around. I’m sure the supporters will see a group that will be organised and have a structure both on and off the ball and they’ll have clear roles and responsibilities”, Bignot said in his first press conference for the club.
Chester’s CEO, Mark Maguire, told the club website: “We are delighted to welcome Marcus to the club, it is testament to the stature of Chester FC that we have attracted candidates of such high calibre.”
Maguire’s words echo those of the fans, who firmly believe that this is the best selection of potential candidates that the board has had to choose from since reforming. It’s hard to disagree with that. Bignot joins a Chester side four points adrift from safety, marooned in 21st place. However, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the club anymore, as results may suggest.
During the interview process, Marcus Bignot was certainly the favourite amongst the Chester faithful and his appointment has been met with a vast amount of praise and positivity. This positivity comes with good reason, as Marcus Bignot has a working knowledge of non-league football, leading Solihull Moors to the National League as National League North Champions in 2016.
Bignot’s playing career spanned from 1992 to as recently as 2016, as he racked up almost 600 appearances, some of which with non-league clubs. His managerial career overlapped with his playing, becoming manager of Birmingham City’s ladies squad in 1998. He left the ladies squad in 2005, having had the club promoted two steps to the top-flight of women’s football in as many years.
Bignot also attracted talent such as Alex Scott to the club in 2004, who has since racked up 140 appearances for England. There isn’t much saying that Marcus Bignot cannot attract big non-league talent to Chester, in order for us to progress. The only thing restricting him is Chester’s minimal budget, which would be a problem for any manager that the club decided to appoint.
“These links to Football League clubs, one of which is nearby, can be very beneficial for the club as they can result in potential loan deals for players who can improve the quality of the squad and its depth”
As well as his knowledge of non-league Bignot has good links in the Football League, which may come in handy if he can lead the club to promotion in the near future. Bignot had a very short time as manager of Grimsby Town, where he was sacked after just four months, despite the club’s midtable position. Some Grimsby fans felt Bignot was wrongly sacked, as Grimsby had just been promoted from the National League the previous season. Others, however, believe that the sacking was justified, as Bignot had a poor relationship with the board.
It wasn’t just management that led Bignot to the Football League. As previously mentioned, his playing career spanned almost 25 years, in which he played for several Football League sides such as Queens Park Rangers and Crewe Alexandra. These links to Football League clubs, one of which is nearby, can be very beneficial for the club as they can result in potential loan deals for players who can improve the quality of the squad and its depth.
Another link Bignot has is to Chester player-coach, Tom Shaw. Shaw was Bignot’s boot boy at Rushden and Diamonds, which, although potentially minor, is a fact that could help to rekindle a working relationship between the two. Bignot will need time to adapt to his new surroundings but this, and the fact he’s been helping Mickie Moore at Barrow recently, show that he’s prepared for the next step in his career.
These reasons are why I believe that Marcus Bignot is an appointment that the entire fan base can, and should, get behind. He’s experienced, having managed for over 15 years and some of the signings he’s made and accomplishments he’s pulled off suggest that Bignot could take Chester back into the Football League. It’s safe to say that it’s time to leave the previous nine months behind us and get behind the squad and the manager.
Is Marcus Bignot the man to take Chester back into the Football League? Let us know your thoughts on his appointment in the comments below!