It’s come to a point where I cannot give the role the time and effort it needs, says Simon Austin
Austin, 33, who lives in East Farleigh, was appointed as the club’s new manager during the summer after Mark Tompkins decided to move into a general manager’s position at the Southern Counties East Football League club.
Striker Austin, who has previously managed Canterbury City, played for Folkestone Invicta last season and helped Neil Cugley’s side finish runners-up in the Ryman League Division One South.
Austin, who is a consultant in property and IT has just been commissioned on a 22-month contract to deliver savings within local government so feels that he can’t give the manager’s job the commitment it needs.
The Dockers are presently sitting in the bottom two in the division, having collected one point from their opening five league games.
“It wasn’t something I wanted to do and have been debating it for a couple of weeks now,” said Austin.
“It’s come to a point where I cannot give the role the time and effort it needs, with work and other commitments.
“Anyone that has done the job appreciates the time a good manager puts in, planning training sessions, watching games, watching players, phone calls etc, and this is something that I am currently unable to do.
“Those that have worked with me know that it’s either 100% or not at all. If I’m going to do something I’m going to do it properly and I couldn’t. As much as I didn’t want it to be, it is the right decision – for now!
“I am genuinely gutted, the board have been superb, very supportive and made the decision harder for me with their powers of persuasion but it wasn’t right to continue.
“It’s a good club, good set-up and really good people, like Albert Putnam, Ian Birrell, Mark Tompkins, Paul Carter and Julian Smith. Albert is moving near to where I live, so we’ll be meeting up for a drink soon anyway.
“Management is something I will definitely get back into but when the time is right for me, as unfortunately for now I need to focus my attentions elsewhere.
“I’d like to thank the players for their efforts. I’ll be keeping in touch with most of them anyway.
“My management team, Steve Rice, Kevin Fewell, Lee Reilly, Louis Arnold and Ollie Muncey, have been brilliant, spot on, from the day I brought them all on board and although they’re completely gutted, they fully understand why I had to make this decision. I would work with them all again, 100%.”
When asked whether he’d be available as a player, striker Austin replied: “I thought you’d ask me that one! It is a lot less time consuming being a player. It’s the hard work in between games that I am struggling with at the minute and will be for the next six to eighteen months.”
A statement from chairman Ian Birrell added: “Simon Austin, the recently installed manager at Erith Town, has, due to the pressure and commitments of his job, resigned as the club’s manager.
“Although only in charge for the opening four games of the current season Erith Town thank him for his efforts and of course wish him all the best for the future.
“In the meantime the club have installed Simon’s assistant Steve Rice to act as the interim manager whilst the committee formulate and decide on a successor to Simon.”
Meanwhile, Erith Town’s goal-less draw at Phoenix Sports yesterday, was to be the last for Phoenix Sports’ joint-manager Tony Beckingham, who resigned from his role.
Phoenix Sports chairman Andrew Mortlock said: “It is with regret that joint first team manager Tony Beckingham has decided to step down.”
Steve O’Boyle is going to continue as first team manager and current first team player James Brown is to be his assistant.
“Tony has been fantastic for Phoenix in his two seasons,” added Mr Mortlock.
“He and Steve guided us to winning the Kent Invicta League in their first season and then finished a creditable sixth in the Southern Counties East Football League in their second season.
“This for Phoenix is the highest level any senior side has played in our 79 year history and we thank Tony for helping us achieve that.
“Tony leaving is entirely his decision and is based after a lot of thought on his part.
“Everyone at the club are disappointed but are hopeful he may be back at some stage and working in some other role within the club. Watch this space.
“But in the meantime we wish Tony all the best in whatever he does in the future.”
When asked to elaborate on his departure from the Barnehurst based club, Beckingham replied: “I don’t know what I’m doing at the moment so have nothing really to add to the club statement.”
Phoenix Sports are in fourth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League table, having collected three wins and a draw.
They were knocked out of The FA Cup at the first hurdle by league rivals Deal Town seven days ago.
Deal Town won the Extra Preliminary Round tie 8-7 after 20 penalties after the epic finished 3-3 after extra time.
Phoenix Sports’ first ever FA Cup tie, in Deal, had finished all-square at 2-2.
Visit Erith Town’s website: www.erithtown.co.uk/index.php
Visit Phoenix Sports’ website: www.phoenixsportsclub.org