Dean Ashton: Ex-Crewe Alexandra striker in support of managerial change
Ex-Crewe striker Dean Ashton says the sacking of Steve Davis as manager may have come "at the right time" if the League Two club are to stay in the EFL.
Former Alex captain David Artell, 36, replaced Davis on Sunday, with Crewe 18th in the fourth tier.
"Something's got to change," Ashton told BBC Radio Stoke. "Maybe a fresh approach will make the difference.
"Steve did a magnificent job when he came in, taking over from Dario Gradi, in the right manner and philosophy."
But the once-capped England international, 33, added: "It's been a long time now that they've been on a steady decline.
"Apart from a good couple of months at the start of the season, they've not really looked like turning it around.
"Steve can look back at Crewe with fond memories and be proud of what he did. From where they were when he came in, two Wembley trips, promotion and a trophy was brilliant.
"But the real worry is that if the slide continues, then you're looking at the Football League trapdoor which Crewe definitely don't want to go through.
"It was the right time for him to step aside and for someone else to take it on."
"They now have David, who was club captain in successful times, and his number two Kenny Lunt is a great coach who brings experience of what it's like to get to Championship level with Crewe.
"And it's absolutely vital they use (head of recruitment) Neil Baker. He's been there and done it. Any situation Crewe go into, he's got that experience. He's got a good calmness to him. He's not going to make rash decisions."
Where's the next Ashton?
Ashton left Crewe for Norwich for £3m in January 2005 and his subsequent move to West Ham a year later earned the club even more money with a sell-on fee.
Previously, players such as David Platt, Geoff Thomas, Robbie Savage, Rob Jones, Neil Lennon, Danny Murphy and Seth Johnson all moved for big transfer fees.
But, for all the success of their highly-rated academy, Crewe have not received a seven-figure fee for a player since Luke Murphy left for Leeds United in 2013.
"You're always looking for that next player to come through to go on to bigger and better things," said Ashton. "Since they sold Luke Murphy on the back of Nick Powell to Manchester United and Ashley Westwood to Aston Villa, it's been difficult.
"The only worry is that it's getting more and more difficult for teams like Crewe to bring talent through as the big clubs widen their search and get all of the best players.
"Within the boundaries Crewe set, you don't have money to spend. You have to bring youngsters through, and it's very difficult down there to constantly rely on your youth policy."