05:10PM, Monday 06 June 2016
(First published in the Maidenhead Advertiser on Thursday, March 31)
Anyone who knows anything about local football will know that Graham Malcolm has done a great job at Flackwell Heath.
I’m sorry to see he’s leaving the club at the end of the year, but I wish him well in Spain.
He’s had five good years at Wilks Park as coach and then manager, helping turn the club around after relegation and making them champions of the Hellenic League Premier Division and cup winners last season.
But I knew he would do well when he took over the reins from previous manager James Pritchard because I was told he would, by Jimbo himself.
Pritchard told me that Malcolm was the right man at the right time, knew all the club’s players and as an expert coach would bring through the young players, which he certainly has.
It’s a shame the club felt unable to take their place in the Southern League this season after winning the Hellenic Premier and therefore we did not get to see Malcolm consolidate the club at the next level, but he will leave them on a firm footing, and he creates an attractive role for someone to fill.
I think my abiding memory of Malcolm will be when he initially landed the manager’s role and admitted he had never talked to the media before.
Three years ago he was quite often uncertain what to say. But three years is a long time in football and now he is one of the more refreshing managers to interview, always available, passionate and direct, if a little grumpy at times.
It will be interesting to see who the club finds to replace Malcolm, whether they look internally or cast their net wider.
They won’t be short of applicants, that’s for sure.
I don’t want to bang on about this, I don't want to prejudge and I certainly don't want to jinx it, but I have to mention the fact that Maidenhead United have crept into a play-off position.
They are one of about six or seven teams realistically going for one place, maybe two.
They will have to maintain their excellent run of the last six weeks, but it is possible. They are the form team and that counts for a lot going into the final six matches.
The Magpies’ league success in Alan Devonshire’s first season in charge since returning may be unexpected – certainly according to some club officials – but it is exciting.
Even if they just miss out, they have set down a good marker for next season which bodes well.
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