Shrewsbury Town fans were today coming to terms with the end of an era after club legend Graham Turner resigned as manager – with former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler emerging as an early candidate for the job.
Turner took the decision to end his three-and-a-half year reign at the Greenhous Meadow following a series of poor results that has seen the club drop into the League One relegation places.
Today the club announced that first team coach Mike Jackson is to become caretaker manager for the next three games while a permanent successor is found.
Turner’s assistant John Trewick and fitness coach Tony Ford have also left the club.
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Turner, 66, said his managerial career, which has lasted more than 35 years and included spells at Wolves, Aston Villa and Hereford, could now be over.
He said: “It’s a very sad decision. It’s a club that I’ve really enjoyed working at, it’s a club that gave me my first opportunity in management so I’ll always appreciate that, and I will always be close to the club.”
Turner made more than 300 appearances as a player in Blue and Amber and began his managerial career as a player-manager with the club midway through the 1978-79 season.
He left for Aston Villa in 1984 after securing promotion to the second tier of English football, which is now the Championship, while his successes with Town also included twice reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
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Turner returned in 2010, delivering promotion in 2011/12 to League One – after a 15-year absence from the English third tier.
Chairman Roland Wycherley said: “It is a decision Graham has made himself and the board have tried very hard to get him to reconsider, but Graham feels that his decision is in the best interests of the club.
“I wish to go on record in thanking Graham for his exemplary service towards our club both in recent seasons, when he returned to guide us successfully to promotion to League One and our highest league position in over 18 years, and for his efforts as a player and manager in the 1970s and early 1980s when we witnessed Championship level football.
“Graham has rightly achieved legend status at our club and I trust that history will treat him with respect his endeavours for this club deserve. I wish him every happiness and success in whatever he decides to do next.”
No sooner had Turner departed the Greenhous Meadow then speculation went into over-drive as to who would replace him in the dugout.
Robbie Fowler and ex-West Bromwich Albion boss Gary Megson were among names today being linked with the position by bookmakers.
Former Kidderminster Harriers boss Steve Burr, who is currently managing Conference Premier outfit Chester, has also been named among the early front runners as have Newport County chief Justin Edinburgh, Salisbury boss Mikey Harris, and ex-Scunthorpe United manager Brian Laws.
Fans said they had mixed feelings about Turner’s exit after recent results but hailed him as a club legend. Simon Moore, chairman of the official supporters’ club, said: “I’ve got really mixed feelings. He did a great job getting us into League One. We were trying for so long to get there and he managed to do it. We are struggling at the moment and it’s possible that we need a change and some fresh ideas.”
Gary Ray, 28, from Newport, who has supported the club for 20 years, said: “I am sad to see him go as he is a legend. He was always honest and I had a lot of time for him. He obviously took the Town up into League One. But the writing has been on the wall.”
David Matthias, from the Blue and Amber Fanzine, said he hoped a role for Turner could still be found, possibly as a director of football.