Championship Letters 10: Paul Sturrock as Michael Henchard
What happens to those managers who suddenly find there’s no longer a place for them in the game? Like Michael Henchard, the tragic lead in Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge who dies bankrupt and discredited, one fears that there’s no way that Paul Sturrock will be able to correct his sullied record and that he will see out his Saturdays in front of Jeff Stelling & co. The comparison runs deeper. For the guilt that hangs over Henchard’s head for much of his life after selling his wife and child at market, read Sturrock’s regretful decision to leave the Pilgrims when they were on the ascendancy back in 2004. Likewise, for Henchard’s misguided fidelity to his outdated harvesting methods, see Luggy’s unfailing reliance on the kick and run tactics that made his sides so successful at the start of the millennium in the lower leagues. Emblematically, Henchard sets up a summer party out in the open, only to see the heavens open and his would-be guests flock to the bright young thing Donald Farfrae’s indoor fete. It’s a crying shame, but the vision of a rain-sodden and solitary Henchard looking absolutely defeated in a field is all I can think of when the name Paul Sturrock presents itself.