Article by Kieran Burke. Former Longford Town FC manager Alan Mathews could be set for a return to management with the Irish Sun linking the LOI veteran with another of his former clubs Drogheda United.
Mathews, who was sacked as Town boss mid-season occupied the United hot-seat between the 2009 and 2010 seasons but despite keeping Drogheda up in his initial campaign, a poor start to the 2010 season saw the now fifty-two-year-old manager resign his position.
Mathews fortunes never really picked up after that despite an almost instant return to management with Shelbourne, who he did indeed guide to promotion and an FAI cup final berth in 2011 but a horrendous 2013 campaign saw Mathews depart a toxic Tolka Park with just one win in thirteen top-flight games as the ‘’Reds’’ were eventually relegated back to the second tier.
In January 2014 Mathews landed another Premier Division job as he was appointed manager of Bray Wanderers with. However, The Dublin native left his role in April 2015 citing off-field issues at Bray concerning the non-payment of wages to players and coaching staff.
In what has seemed to be a running theme throughout Mathews LOI career, he would also depart his next job due to a financial meltdown at Athlone Town, who infamously failed to field a team for a league fixture away to Waterford United due to players striking over unpaid expenses.
2016 saw the return of Longford Town FC’s most successful ever manager as Mathews stepped in following the resignation of the unpopular Tony Cousins at City Calling Stadium. Despite a small up turn in performances under Mathews watch, Town were long destined for the drop thanks to a winless run of twenty-three games under his predecessor.
Mathews was tasked with the job of an instant return to the Premier Division and set about making a number of high profile signings for ‘’De Town’’ as Jake Kelly, Dylan McGlade, Enda Curran and a host of others arrived in the Midlands. However, the majority of Mathews signings failed to ignite with rumours of a dressing room split soon emerging and it wasn’t long before this came to the fore with Mathews sacking after a 5-0 home win over Wexford FC.
While many Town supporters felt the timing and way the decision was announced could have been handled better, the vast majority agreed it was time for change with the pre-season title favourites already out of the running for promotion.
In truth, Mathews has struggled to rediscover those early Longford glory days of his career, which saw the former Cork City boss capture back to back FAI Cups with ‘‘De Town’’ in between a league Cup success also. While some may argue Mathews has been unlucky with the timing of financial difficulties at some of his previous clubs including Cork City, Bray and Athlone, his most recent spell in the LOI was with a financially sound Longford side who backed their manager generously in the transfer market. Of course the players brought into the club by Mathews should shoulder a lot of the responsibility for their inept performances during his tenure, many were critical of the tactics employed by the veteran boss prior to his dismal and as a result it is unlikely Drogheda fans will be overly enamoured with Mathews name been linked to the County Louth club once more.
It should be noted however, Alan Mathews is just one of three names linked to the vacant United job by the Irish sun following Pete Mahon’s resignation yesterday. Also in line according to the online tabloid are former Irish underage boss Paul Doolin and yet another former Drogheda boss Mick Cooke, who left the club in acrimonious circumstances following the FAI final defeat of 2012.