Swindon Town manager Richie Wellens comments on Salford City speculation after his odds were slashed

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 20 October 2020, 09:18

Nerves started jangling in the Swindon vicinity on Monday after Richie Wellens’ odds were slashed in the betting to become the next Salford City manager.

Since Graham Alexander lost his job just over a week ago the Robins boss had been an outsider in the market, however in the blink-of-an-eye he burst into contention early doors this week at 5/1, cut from 19/1 (Paddy Power).

At first glance, the chances of a sudden move appeared remote. 

After all, Wellens is currently managing in League One, having led Swindon into the division last season, so why would he drop down a tier now? He’s a popular figure at the club and has moulded together an exciting and fearless team.

But, on second glance, it’s worth noting that Wellens did sport the shirt of Salford City during his playing days, albeit very briefly between September and October 2016, during which he made nine appearances, and scored one goal.

Wellens is, of course, from Manchester. He grew up a Man Utd fan, made an appearance for the club, and has Fergie’s number stamped in his phone.

“I did ring Sir Alex up when I first got the [Oldham] job,” Wellens told The Guardian last year.

“At that stage I didn’t really want the role because I was seeing what was going on but I’d won my first four games and I thought: ‘I’m probably going to have to take this.’ I could see a takeover was about to happen; it was like: ‘Hmmm, it’s probably not in my best interests to take this.’ But sometimes you have to learn on the job, sink or swim.”

Salford City also just so happen to be co-owned by the Class of 92, with whom Wellens trained alongside in the late 1990s. He probably has their numbers too.

Being near your family is an important factor that’s often overlooked when it comes to a manager’s job. Last Christmas we saw Graham Coughlan move from Bristol Rovers (League One) to Mansfield Town (League Two) - you can read about the Stags’ current dilemmas right here - in order to be closer to his family. 

Back in May, Wellens’ son Charlie signed a professional contract with Man Utd, after the midfielder impressed in the club’s academy system. He'll understandably be keen to see his son play.

So, when these factors are considered, a managerial move perhaps doesn’t seem so out of the question.

Yet, Swindon fans can breathe a sigh of relief - for the moment at least - after Wellens had his say on the Salford City speculation in the build-up to Tuesday’s clash against Northampton. 

“I’ve been offered four jobs since I’ve been at this club [Swindon] of which you know nothing about, because I’ve kept it private and I’ve kept it to myself,” Robins told @JonnyLeighfield of The Swindon Advertiser.

“It’s wrong of me to take my attention away from what is the most important thing. The most important thing for me is Swindon Town Football Club, the players here, the staff that I work with, and obviously the supporters.

“That’s my main focus, ever since I walked through the door. I’ve given this club everything, and I will continue to do so.”

For the time being Paul Cook remains the odds-on favourite for the Salford City post, with Roy Keane, Warren Joyce and Daniel Stendel also in contention according to the betting.

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