By Matt Badcock
Leigh Robinson says leaving Taunton Town on the crest of a wave was wrench – but he couldn’t turn down a crack at Step 2 management with struggling Truro City.
The 37-year-old has left the Peacocks, along with his assistant Michael Meaker, to take the reins at the National League South outfit.
After six successful years that culminated in romping to the Southern League South & West title last season, it wasn’t a straightforward decision.
But Robinson knows you sometimes have to push all your chips into the centre of the table when the chance arises.
“The decision came down to, ‘Do I gamble and stay at Taunton and hopefully get promoted to that level or take the chance while it’s here?’” Robinson told The NLP. “Football is a volatile game so it came down to taking that chance while my stock is high because in football very quickly your stock can fall and you might not get that chance again.
“But I have been there six years, which is quite a long time in football management, so when the chance came up I thought, ‘I’ve had some wonderful memories, I’m leaving it in a wonderful place, time to hand it on to someone else’.”
Robinson admits it was tough to deliver the news to Taunton chairman Kevin Sturmey but leaves proud at where the club now sit in the Southern League Premier South.
“When I arrived we didn’t even have a clubhouse,” Robinson said. “A fire had burnt it down so we didn’t have one, we had 200 people coming through the gate, a really tiny budget and quite a poor playing squad.
“Over the six years they’ve now had crowds touching 600 in the first league games, wonderful facilities, a really good budget and a fantastic playing squad. So certainly leaving it in great shape for the next person.
“The chairman bless him thought – luckily for me – I was the best manager who went for the job six years ago. But he’ll absolutely get a lot better applicants this time around!”
Robinson replaces Lee Hodges who led the, admittedly largely different, squad to the play-offs last season, but left just two games into the new campaign.
It’s been a summer of upheaval with the club leaving their Treyew Road home to groundshare 80 miles away at Torquay United – a decision that hasn’t gone down well with some fans – while the new Stadium of Cornwall that they will share with rugby union side Cornish Pirates is built.
Robinson isn’t worried by people asking why he would trade Taunton for Truro given the circumstances.
“I do understand all that but quite simply it doesn’t matter where you’re playing – as a manager your job is to build a good squad and win games of football,” he said.
“So, no, that didn’t come into my thoughts. I just thought there’s a good enough squad, a good budget for this part of the world and a good arena to play in.”
Robinson, who has seen Truro play twice this season and met his players on Thursday, says first on the ‘to-do list’ is to get three points.
“As a manager I always look at the short term, medium term and long term thinking,” he said. “Short term we’ve got to get a win on the board – that takes a lot of the pressure off and gets the confidence going. Medium term, the thinking needs to be after getting that win, can we get ourselves into a comfy league position?
“Then long-term, we’ve got a new stadium coming as a club and we need to build a squad and group of players who are determined to take the club into that new stadium when it comes along.”
*This article originally featured in The @NonLeaguePaper which is available every Sunday and Monday for £1.50 in all good newsagents and supermarkets