Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - MAX HALL tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @lyetown­max

A RE­TURN of just four points from their open­ing five matches has brought the cur­tain down on Gor­don Bartlett’s 22-year reign at Weald­stone FC just 16 days into the sea­son.

A state­ment re­leased by the club on Mon­day night said Bartlett would take on an un­spec­i­fied role at the club which would in­clude over­sight of youth de­vel­op­ment and tap into his ex­pe­ri­ence and con­tacts.

Weald­stone 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 third di­vi­sion of the Isth­mian League to play-off spot con­tenders in Na­tional League South.

“Of­ten work­ing in try­ing con­di­tions which would have con- founded lesser man­agers, Gor­don has been piv­otal in the club reestab­lish­ing it­self as a force in the non-league game. He is quite sim­ply a Weald­stone leg­end.”

The state­ment goes on to make clear re­sults this sea­son – in­clud­ing de­feats at home to Chelms­ford and Ha­vant & Water­looville in their last two out­ings, played a part in the de­ci­sion.

“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 [up],” added Mars­den, who ar­rived as chair­man in July last year. “But such is the level of ex­pec­ta­tion at Weald­stone 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. It drives our in­come streams and our abil­ity to at­tract fresh in­vest­ment.”

In the club state­ment, Bartlett too ad­mit­ted re­sults had been a concern.

“This is un­doubt­edly a very tough de­ci­sion,” said the veteran man­ager. “The dy­nam­ics of this foot­ball club have changed dra­mat­i­cally since Pe­ter’s ar­rival. We are in an am­bi­tious era with the club 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 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 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 and last sea­son’s so-called ‘cri­sis’ proved a point when, de­spite the doom and gloom mer­chants, we fin­ished the sea­son with one de­feat in our last 20 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.”

It is un­clear who will be in charge of the team for Satur­day’s trip to East­bourne Bor­ough and the home game against Hemel Hemp­stead Town on bank hol­i­day Mon­day (both 3pm kick-offs).

Pic­ture: Steve Foster

Gor­don Bartlett

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