Wealdstone have announced that long-serving manager Gordon Bartlett has stepped down from his role and will take up a new position within the club.
In his twenty two years at the helm, Bartlett has taken the club from the third tier of the Isthmian League to the National League South.
The Bartlett era has also seen the Stones win a number of trophies including the Middlesex Premier Cup, which they won on four separate occasions.
He also led them to two Middlesex Charity Cup wins, an Isthmian League Division Three championship and the Ryman Premier League title in 2014.
The club were within one win from Wembley in 2012, when Newport County denied them a place in the FA Trophy Final with a 3-1 aggregate win.
The Stones have announced that Bartlett’s new role with see him supporting “youth development, football in the community and other key football development areas”.
Commenting on the decision, Bartlett said “This is undoubtedly a very tough decision. The dynamics of this football club have changed dramatically since Peter’s arrival. We are in an ambitious era with the club with a significant financial increase and we have simply failed to meet expectations on the field.
Following last weekend, Peter and I have sat down and agreed it isn’t working, so it’s time for a change and unfortunately the buck stops with me. Despite my huge disappointment to step aside after 22 years, I genuinely believe that the club will benefit from a new approach and a fresh start is what it craves.
‘I have become increasingly frustrated and I can honestly say I have not been managing with a smile on my face recently.
In the past, we have overcome some very difficult times and remained upbeat and with the help of many others, always managed to steer the ship to calmer waters. I am a positive person by nature and last seasons so called ‘crisis’ proved a point, when despite the doom and gloom merchants, we finished the season with one defeat in our last twenty games.
This pre-season had been encouraging and the majority of performances have seen us better than the opposition, but it’s a results business and they haven’t been good enough. Sometimes you need to be a lucky manager and that certainly cannot be said for the numerous things that have occurred this season, so when you add everything up, the time is right”
Speaking to the club’s website Chairman Peter Marsden said: “On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Gordon Bartlett for his 22 years at the helm of Wealdstone Football Club in which he has guided the club from the 3rd division of the Isthmian League to play-off spot contenders in National League South. Often working in trying conditions which would have confounded lesser managers Gordon has been pivotal in the club re-establishing itself as a force in the non-league game. He is quite simply a Wealdstone Legend.
‘Having worked closely with Gordon for this last 12 months I have come to regard him as a good friend and I have seen at first hand his encyclopaedic knowledge, breadth of contacts and above all else his love of the game. In many ways, what Gordon does not know about football is not worth knowing.
‘I am pretty confident that as the season develops (and as some of our players return from injury) under Gordon our form would have picked him quite nicely but such is the level of expectation at Wealdstone (as manifest in our average attendances now approaching the 1,000 mark including over 500 season ticket holders) that we need to be either in or close to the leading pack from the very start if we are to fulfil our destiny.
‘Results drive almost everything that happens at a football club – the way we feel about ourselves and the way we are perceived by others. It drives our income streams and our ability to attract fresh investment.
‘Gordon and I have talked several times about ”when the time was right’ his making the next stage of his Wealdstone journey. This is a multi-faceted role which includes looking for and developing young footballing talent, helping the club raise its profile locally and nationally and being an ambassador for the club. As the club continues to grow so the breadth of this role will grow too.
While the new manager of Wealdstone FC will be very much his own man with his own ideas he will know that in Gordon he has a trusted ally and a wealth of experience he can turn to. So, it is not goodbye but ‘rock on’ Gordon”.
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Image: Wealdstone FC