WHEN the TNS board meets this week to review a disappointing
campaign, there is likely to be some heated debate.
FC won the Welsh Cup with mainly
Welsh-born and locally-based players
Top of the agenda will be the future of the Merseyside-based management team
and the size of the squad, with a dozen players out-of-contract.
While the club remains silent, it is believed managing director Mike Harris
may be leaning towards giving his manager one last chance to prove he can deliver
But a straw poll of his fellow directors shows there are divided views about
Ken McKenna and his assistant John Carroll.
Such is the fine line between success and failure, that victory in either league
or cup would have rendered discussions about the management team academic, but
it would have masked fundamental disagreement about the direction the club has
taken in the full-time era.
Some directors hark back to the days when Llansantffraid FC won a Welsh Cup
and league title with mainly Welsh-born and locally-based players.
They cite a 'turn-up, play and get paid' mentality and the Runcorn-based training
camp among reasons for local apathy towards the team - Saints have seen attendances
slip this season and a larger gate for the Llansantffraid Village Cup final
than the average Welsh Premier fixture is certainly food for thought.
It is a dilemma facing several clubs, with Aberystwyth having decided to slim
down their Merseyside contingent and return to a more representative squad.
Russell Cadwallader's sacking at nearby Welshpool also hinged on similar issues.
The counter argument says imported players are essential to mount a serious
challenge for honours or to have any chance of progressing beyond the first
hurdle in Europe.
TNS are desperate to find suitable training facilities in the Oswestry area,
to at least bring the players closer to the local community.
An injection of local talent from the Scholarship scheme would also help identify
the club more closely with its potential fan base, although that is likely to
take some time to achieve.
Short term, McKenna is the tip of the iceberg in a battle over strategy at the
Whether he will be the sacrificial lamb remains to be seen.