COLIN Walker lasted almost exactly a year as manager of York City. His reign began well – the Minstermen remained undefeated for his first 14 games in charge and reached the FA Trophy semi-finals.

That seems a very long time ago, however. This season City have won only five times in 19 Conference games. Walker’s cautious approach has seen his team force too many dreary draws without ever being able to dominate.

City communications director Sophie Hicks admitted sacking Walker was a hard decision to take. Both he and his first team coach Eric Winstanley, who has also departed, were decent people, she said.

They were. They also had the confidence of their players. Just yesterday, City skipper Mark Greaves publicly backed “the gaffer”. The players were at least as much to blame for recent poor performances as their boss, he said. “He’s certainly got my support and the rest of the lads.”

Football is a competitive sport, however. It is results that matter, not popularity. Difficult as the decision obviously was, we understand why the club had to let Walker go. Almost halfway through the season, the Minstermen are drifting towards the bottom of the table.

This is a club which belongs in the Football League. The aim must be to return there, not plod along in mid-table Conference obscurity.

If anything is to be rescued from this season, the time to act is now, before it is too late. Fresh leadership and new ideas are what is needed.

Former City favourite Denis Smith has ruled himself out. But the club has moved swiftly nevertheless, and says it will be announcing a replacement for Walker on Monday.

That is good news. Once the new gaffer is in place, we hope club and supporters can forget their differences over Walker and get behind the team and its new manager for the second half of the season.