BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Peterhead boss Jim McInally is now the longest serving manager in the SPFL after Dick Campbell was sacked by Forfar on Saturday.
The colourful 62-year-old took charge of the Loons in May 2008 and enjoyed a largely successful tenure, guiding them to promotion from the old Third Division in 2010.
They reached the League One playoffs last season, but were defeated 4-3 on aggregate by Alloa. However, Campbell’s side has struggled to recapture that form this term.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to his former club, Cowdenbeath, represented an 12th league match without a win and left Forfar just three points above the relegation zone. It was the last straw for the club’s directors, who made the “reluctant” decision to dismiss Campbell and his assistant, brother Ian.
A statement from the Station Park outfit read: ”The decision to bring to an end Dick Campbell’s seven and a half year tenure as manager of Forfar Athletic Football Club was obviously taken somewhat reluctantly and with a heavy heart.
“The board realise it will not be a universally or even perhaps locally popular one. However, they felt that a change of direction was required as the club’s slide down the Ladbrokes League One table continued.”
Forfar star Gavin Swankie described Campbell as a “legend” and insisted the players must shoulder much of the blame for his exit.
He tweeted: “Gutted how this has ended for a legend at our club. As a group of players we did not do enough. He was more than just our manager, he was our friend.
“I’m sure he won’t be out of work long and will be able to tell his stories to another group of lads.”
The departure of Campbell, for so long a figure of stability at the summit of the longest serving managers table, means he has now been usurped by Blue Toon boss McInally, who took charge at Balmoor in October 2011.
Paul Hartley, who was appointed Dundee manager as recently as February last year, has now entered the top ten.
SPFL LONGEST SERVING MANAGERS
1 – Jim McInally (Peterhead) – October 2011
2 – Jim Chapman (Annan Athletic) – January 2013
3 – Alan Archibald (Partick Thistle) – January 2013
4 – Derek McInnes (Aberdeen) – March 2013
5 – Tommy Wright (St Johnstone) – June 2013
6 – Gary Bollan (Airdrieonians) – October 2013
7 – John Hughes (Inverness) – December 2013
8 – Gary Naysmith (East Fife) – December 2013
9 – Gus MacPherson (Queen’s Park) – January 2014
10 – Paul Hartley (Dundee) – February 2014