Evo-Stik League Southern Petersfield Town are hoping to keep Andy Neal at the club despite accepting his resignation as Rams boss.
Neal stood down at the Love Lane Stadium by ‘mutual consent’ on Friday with his side second from bottom having notched a single win and a draw in the Evo-Stik League Southern’s Central Division since the season kicked off.
After appointing director of football Gary Lines and coach Paul Marsh, who Neal brought in from Liss Athletic, as caretakers, Petersfield Town chairman Graeme Moir has told the club’s fans he hopes their former manager will accept another role as the hunt to appoint his permanent successor got underway on Monday.
Petersfield’s former reserve team boss took over in difficult circumstances in August after Ian Saunders switched to Winchester City and Moir said he’d faced an unenviable task since day one in a statement paying tribute to his efforts and calling on him to stay.
Moir said: “Let me assure everyone that the decision was made equally by all parties. We weren’t looking to make a change at this point in the season when we met to discuss football matters last week.
“When Andy took on the role of first team manager, myself and Andy had an agreement that he was willing to give things a go but if he decided for whatever reason that he wanted to step away from it at any point he would be allowed to do so with no issue.
“That was the decision reached after very amicable discussions on the current situation and how we move forward and I hope everyone respects the decision made by Andy and the club. I hope Andy chooses to remain at the club and that is something we will discuss in due course.
“The way results have gone so far this season is not a reflection of Andy’s coaching or managerial skills or ability and I have stressed that point to him. What happened on the eve of the season has been well documented, as has what has followed.
“I think it is unprecedented the number of players who have departed a club in such a short period of time during a season – it certainly is at Petersfield and you would have to search around a bit to find another non-league club hit in such a severe way.
“If it had been at the end of a season we would have had the close season period to build a new squad and prepare fully for the campaign ahead. However, due to the circumstances, we have had to deal with we have had to try and rebuild the squad with the season in progress.
“I cannot praise Andy enough for what he has done for Petersfield Town FC on and off the pitch. What that man has had to deal with on the football front for two months has been unbelievable in terms of player departures, trying to steady an unsettled squad and the constantly shifting goalposts of trying to bring new players in.
“This club is indebted to what Andy has done this season and I hope you all join me in my praise for him. I really do hope he decides to stay with us to continue the positive impact he has had on the club both on and off the pitch.”
Moir also confirmed that the Rams would not be rushing unduly into making an early appointment despite suffering their ninth defeat of the season on Saturday in a 4-1 reverse at Bedford Town.
He added: “The process of appointing a new first team manager is underway and we will be working quickly but thoroughly to get the right person in to move the club forward.”
For more information on the vacant post, potential candidates should contact the club’s director of football Gary Lines at: [email protected]