DAVE Mehew carried on his duties as Gloucester City manager in the early hours of Sunday morning, despite being sacked by the club hours earlier.
Unable to sleep as he came to terms with what had happened the previous evening, Mehew knew there was still one final task to perform as manager.
So when he took a phone call from his assistant manager Matt Rose – the man who will step into the breach in the short term – Mehew was only too happy to help.
“I spoke to Rosey on Saturday night and helped him out with some phone numbers, and he was also worrying about how to sort out the players’ wages,” Mehew said.
“I told him that I would sort that out for this week, so at 3am on Sunday morning I was sat up working out the players’ wages, making sure that they get their money on time this week.
“I wanted to ensure that I did my job professionally until the end, so that was what I did.”
Part of the reason for his early-morning mathematics was that the shock of what had happened was finally beginning to sink in.
Relieved of his duties immediately after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with North Ferriby United, Mehew’s first thought was not of his own misfortune but of sorting his team out.
So rather than stew on what had happened, he marched into a team meeting for one last time and roused the rabble with one final teamtalk.
“I went into the dressing room after the decision was made and gave the players a rallying call,” Mehew said.
“I told them that the point we had just earned that afternoon could be the point that keeps us in the league.
“I also told them that as a group I believe 100 per cent that they are good enough to stay up this season.
“I said that I didn’t want to have a relegation on my record.
With the number of games we have in hand on others and with who were are playing, we’re good enough to stay up.
“I asked the lads if they could do one more thing for me, that it would be to get out of trouble.
And that battle to avoid the drop out of Skrill North is something that Mehew is still convinced City will win, especially after his recent squad overhaul.
Having brought in seven new players as well as assistant manager Rose back to the club, Mehew was convinced that his side had what it took to avoid the drop.
Indeed, such was his confidence in his new-look side it is the when rather than they why of the decision that is most confusing to the sacked manager.
“The timing of what has happened is what is perplexing me, I was told that the decision was made before the game,” Mehew added.
“You perhaps get a sign that it might happen if the players aren’t playing for you, but they were.
“The performance on Saturday showed that the players were all behind what I was trying to do.
“I am frustrated that they’ve done it when we’ve lost seven games to postponements.
“Many of those games were against teams around us in the league and had we got results in those games the position would be much healthier.
“We have shaken the team up because we needed to do that and there were signs that we were getting there.
“Staying up was still very much in our own hands and perhaps I deserved to be given the chance to play those games as I am certain that we would have stayed up.
“We had six home games against teams around us in the league.
“If we had won three of those games – the ones in hand over the rest of the division – we were out of it.
I made the changes and we’ve had two games, against the team at the top of the form table and then the league leaders.
“Nobody gave us a prayer on Saturday and we performed well.
“We would have got better results, I’m absolutely adamant we would have stayed up.”
Mehew looks back with great fondness of his time in his first managerial post, one in which prior to this season’s struggles had seen the club go from strength to strength.
He held a remarkable statistic in his five full seasons at the helm in that City improved their league position in every successive season despite not having a home ground.
And while promotion via the Southern League play-offs with a victory over Farnborough in 2009 will always be the major highlight, Mehew also looks back on a number of other proud achievements.
“I always challenged myself and after earning promotion a few years ago, the burning ambition was to get the club back in the first round of the FA Cup after so many years,” he said.
“We did that last year and followed up on that this season as well and we went very, very close in other years too.
“I also wanted to bring on a player and then see him move to a Football League club and that’s what we’ve done with Joe Parker this year.
“We’ve brought on quite a few players who have gone on to do great things for the club.
“I will have some time out now, have a break because I’ve been in football from the age of 16 right through to now and I’m 46 now.
“I will take in some games on Saturdays and get a portfolio of players sorted so that when I do decide to go back in I am ready.
“Ian Holtby, who is a good friend of mine from my time playing at Bristol Rovers and is now the stadium manager down there, always told me that I couldn’t qualify as a manger until I was sacked.
“I will be giving him a call now, to tell him that finally I am a proper manager.”