OUT with the old – and in with the old. A dramatic few days was this week played out at Albert Park, where the town’s senior football club watched its manager and chairman depart before recruiting four new faces – including a replacement boss and a former captain – who had left Albert only weeks previously.
Lawrie Dunn – the manager who last Saturday presided over the latest in a succession of heavy defeats, a 5-1 home reverse against Eyemouth – was first through the door, quitting after discussing his future with the club’s board following the match and before committee members could vote on whether or not to retain his services. “I told the players I had been pushed into a corner and that I had no option but to quit,” Dunn told the Hawick News before assuming the reigns at Border Amateur ‘A’ League basement club Greenlaw this week.
Graeme Paxton, the club chairman, was next to leave, and two more committee members also resigned. On-field talisman Kris O’Neil was another who followed Dunn out of Albert Park.
Within hours of Dunn’s departure, the club had advertised the vacancy for a manager and four applications were swiftly received, including that of Dunn’s former assistant Graeme Chadwick. Interviews were conducted on Monday, and Chadwick, given his wealth of contacts in the game, was offered the job. The new man conducted his first training session on Tuesday night, and his squad for tomorrow afternoon’s match at Albert Park includes ex-skipper Paul Power, Scott Watson and Raymond Fleming, a trio that followed Chadwick to Peebles just weeks ago and who remain loyal to him on his return to Hawick.
Midlothian-based Chadwick has set his sights on gradual improvement and helping the club grow. He told the Hawick News: “I know the massive potential at the club and it’s up to me to show that. Going forward, I want to get the club out of this rut and become a winning team.”
Chadwick expressed his regret at the brief nature of his stint in charge at Peebles, but said he was enticed by the lure of a “bigger club with a better set-up” and a return to a place with which he is already familiar.
The new boss says tomorrow’s Qualifying League match at home to Berwick Rangers Reserves – one he sees as something of a dead rubber given Albert’s lowly position in section ‘A’ of the tournament – will offer him the chance to view some potential new signings.
Dunn, meanwhile, cut a bitter figure in the aftermath of a messy breakdown of his relationship with the club’s board.
Widely recognised to have helped the club gain a degree of forward momentum in his first few months since taking charge in September 2011, Dunn was unable to guide the team to a single East of Scotland First Division victory this season and claimed “certain committee members panicked” just five league games into the new campaign. “There are certain things in the last 4-6 weeks I hope I never witness again,” said Dunn. “There’s no loyalty left in football, no reward for someone who works hard. After the game on Saturday, I thought the whole situation stinks.”
Long-serving committee member Dougie Purves told the Hawick News that there was no immediate plan to fill the vacancy of chairman. He paid tribute to the work of Dunn, and expressed his optimism of a future under Chadwick.
“I liked Lawrie as a person, but the important thing is the club,” said Purves. “I’m quite confident Graeme can turn it around, but it’ll not happen overnight. He hopes for what we all want – a winning team.”