THERE is an old adage in football that managers should not return to former pastures and hope to have the same success.

Even outstanding managers like Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool and Kevin Keegan at Newcastle had little success second time round.

So it was little surprise when George Borg failed to reignite the spark that has been sadly lacking in Braintree Town’s performances for some time.

He arrived at the club almost exactly a year ago when things were at a low ebb, just as they were when he first took over, in the close season of 2004.

But much has changed since then. Braintree were in the Ryman (Isthmian) League premier division and would have been relegated had it not been for the introduction of the Conference North and South, which took away the top half of the division.

Borg cashed in on that good fortune by introducing some strong recruits like Alex Revell, Ollie Adedeji, Paul Lorraine and Billy Burgess and gained promotion two years later.

He was also working for a new go-ahead chairman, Lee Harding having arrived during the previous season with the drive and the wherewithal to improve the club’s standing.

Now Harding is in his 18th season and towards the end of 2019 expressed his concern at the future of the club in these pages. He bemoaned the fact that he was getting little backing in supporting the club financially and mused aloud whether they ought now to think in terms of being an Isthmian League team rather than aiming for the top two tiers of non-league football.

Borg therefore had less cash at his disposal when he returned.

He also had to steer the club into calmer waters after the shambles of three managers in as many weeks.

After Glen Driver resigned, defenders Jake Hutchings and Josh Urquhart prepared the team for the next match as joint caretaker managers. Then Hutchings was given the job on a permanent basis but after three defeats, he too resigned and Borg, who had just been brought in to assist him, was hoisted back into the top job.

It was in mid-season so he did not have the luxury of time to recruit and apart from a few loan signings was unable to bolster the side in its latest relegation bid.

It is ironic that, just as in 2004, Iron were saved from relegation not on the pitch, but because of events off it, when it was decided that there would be no promotion from the leagues below the National League.

The summer recruitment illustrated the club’s absence of financial punch as newcomers were brought in largely from lower divisions.

There were some hopes that they would eventually gel into a unit and signs of improvement were noticeable in the two matches before the debacle at Eastbourne, two matches when, perhaps significantly, Borg was serving a two-match ban imposed after his red card at Billericay at the end of last season (one of the things that did not change was Borg’s self-discipline).

The addition of Matt Johnson and George Allen appeared to have added some bite in midfield and stability at the back but that went completely out of the window at Eastbourne.

Few managers can survive losing their first seven league matches but it was the manner of the Eastbourne capitulation that had fans reaching for the adjectives in their vocabulary on online forums.

As Harding said in his announcement of Borg’s departure: ‘George will always be the manager that took the club to the Isthmian play-offs, Isthmian championship and Conference South play-offs in three successive seasons - a legacy which we all still benefit from.’

The club is indeed indebted to Borg but there is little surprise that he and the club have agreed it is time to part company now.