Alan Dowson sacked by Woking after just two wins in 14 games


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Woking have announced that Alan Dowson has been relieved of his duties as manager after 175 games in charge, citing ‘a prolonged run of poor form in the league’ as the reason.

Woking’s poor league form has not relented in recent weeks, and as such, the club have made the decision to part companies with the 51-year-old.

After four years in charge, this is certainly a monumental change for the club going forward. Let us take a look at Dowson’s route to becoming Woking manager.

As a player, Dowson made 55 senior professional appearances with Millwall, Fulham, Bradford City and latterly Darlington.

In 1993, Dowson made the step down to play for Non-League side Slough Town where he would remain for the rest of his playing career.

He finished his playing career in 2006 with Walton & Hersham who now ply their trade in the Combined Counties Football League Premier Division South.

He went on to manage the side after his retirement from playing and did so for three years before joining Isthmian League side Kingstonian.

Dowson would remain at Kingstonian for seven years before making the step up to take charge of Hampton & Richmond Borough.

He earned promotion back to the National League South for the London club where he would keep them for the rest of his tenure. He reached the play-offs twice, including a play-off final in 2018 where his side lost out to Braintree Town.

His success in rising up through the leagues did not go unnoticed and he was appointed manager of National League side Woking in 2018 as he was charged with taking the club back to the National League and helping them compete with the bigger clubs in the division.

In his first season in charge, Dowson was successful in getting Woking promoted as his side beat Welling United in the play-off final, changing his fortunes from the previous year with Hampton & Richmond.

During that campaign, Woking also played a historic FA Cup Third Round home game against Premier League side Watford where they put on a heroic performance in a 2-0 defeat in Surrey in front of over 5,000 fans in attendance.

In his first season in charge in the fifth tier, Dowson did an excellent job in helping his side accumulate 55 points in 38 games.

Sadly, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short amidst a heated play-off battle in which Woking were involved. The controversial points-per-game system meant that Barnet, who had 54 points but had played three games less, were promoted into the play-off places.

Overall, this saw the Cardinals officially finish 10th in the 2019/2020 season, and whilst there was disappointment about the play-off fiasco, the general consensus was that this was a very successful first season back in the National League.

The second season, however, was a far more disappointing one for Dowson.

With almost the entire season behind closed doors, Woking amassed just 33 points from 42 games, operating at a rate of 0.78 points per game. The Cardinals were also the league’s second-lowest scorers behind Barnet, scoring exactly a goal a game with 42.

Woking’s final league position was 20th, but with neither Dover nor Macclesfield participating, it is unknown whether Woking would have been in the bottom four in a full division.

Furthermore, there was uncertainty about the relegation situation, but eventually, it was clear that Woking would categorically not be relegated unless they finished bottom.

In the current season, Woking sit 16th with the same points total from the 2020/2021 campaign (33) in 12 less games. This has seen them sit comfortably clear of the relegation zone, but the poor run of form that has plagued them since the back end of 2021 has clearly caused the board to bite the bullet with Dowson.

This is a clear statement of intent from the owners that they do not want Woking to simply participate in the National League.

Considering the Cardinals’ squad in comparison to the financial superpowers in the league, perhaps this can be seen as a harsh decision as Woking may not be a million miles from where they are expected to be.

However, with sixteen games remaining and an improving Weymouth side starting to pick up results, perhaps the worry was that if this form was to continue Woking would be dragged into a relegation battle.

An accumulation of 12 points from their last 16 games suggests that they would probably be just fine, but Chief Executive John Katz and the rest of the board are taking no chances.

As expected, assistant manager Ian Dyer will take interim charge of the team whilst the search for a new manager is conducted.

Could this prove to be the correct decision or will the replacement find similar issues with the squad he inherits?

The future of Woking could be an exciting one with the right person in charge and with sufficient backing, so fans will be intrigued to see which direction this goes.

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