Gordon Bartlett has insisted his focus is his misfiring players amid speculation over his own future at Wealdstone .
Back-to-back home defeats to Eastbourne and Bath City in the space of 48 hours have fanned the flames of disquiet among the Wealdstone faithful.
Some of the stalwarts took to the fans’ forum in wake of Monday’s 1-0 defeat to The Romans to express the view it may be time to call time on the longest serving manager in the English professional/ semi-professional pyramid.
More worryingly for Bartlett, who guided Stones to promotion to the Conference South in 2013-14, it is believed new chairman, former Accrington supremo Peter Marsden wants more return on the investment he made when taking the reins from Howard Krais in the summer.
Bartlett knows hiring and firing is Marsden’s prerogative, but insisted he would not be walking away from 21 years-plus in charge of the blue and white army.
“I’m worried about us not winning football matches and I will strive to put that right and do everything I possibly can,” he said. “I have been here a long time and from day one I have wanted to see the club rise and I’ve not changed that attitude. I’m very confident we can turn it around and put it right.
“But I’m bitterly disappointed at the moment. Worried would not be the right word. We have got a new chairman and if he thinks someone else has got to come in and do the job then that is a different kettle of fish. I will continue to strive to do it and as long as I believe I can do it I’ll still be here.”
Through years of struggling against bigger hitters whose budgets dwarfed his own it’s been Bartlett’s ability to attract players who according to all logic should have gone elsewhere which has kept the club moving forward.
So much so, despite 0/6 over the weekend, Stones are more comfortably placed than at this stage in either of their two previous seasons at this level.
Ironically then, the arrival of a what we might call a ‘sugar daddy’ at what has previously been a fans-run club has changed the landscape. Bartlett himself concedes expectations have changed and he and his team must rise to them
“Let’s be fair. There is a lot more money in the budget,” he added. “No disrespect to anyone who has been here before, but this is the best squad we have had. Most of the players come from a higher level than this and are proven at that level.
“So, the expectation levels are bound to be increased, mine, the fans, the Chairman, the club, everybody and the bottom line is we haven’t done that.
“At the moment, we are underachieving for the players we have got at this football club. In life, there are times when things go wrong and you have got to show character to come through those difficult situations. This is a very difficult one in footballing terms.”