Chris Lynch parts company with Sittingbourne: This is the toughest call I have ever had to make in football, because I genuinely care for this club and its people
CHRIS LYNCH has resigned as the manager of Sittingbourne after his side suffered 10 defeats in their last 11 games last night.
Sittingbourne went down to a 3-0 home defeat to Sevenoaks Town and Lynch decided to part company with the club this afternoon.
The Brickies are sitting in the bottom-five in the Isthmian League South East Division table with 28 points from their 29 league outings but are virtually safe from relegation as East Grinstead Town are 18 points adrift of the Brickies.
Lynch issued a statement on the club website to explain the reasons behind his exit from the Woodstock Park outfit.
“After a lot of consideration and with a heavy heart I have made the decision over night to step down from my role as manager of this great club with immediate effect,” said Lynch.
“Ultimately, it’s a results business. I think we can all agree the last 11 games have not been good enough and something has to change.
“I am the manager and as such I take full responsibility. As custodians of club’s we are faced with many difficult decisions on a daily basis. Some may be popular while others not so, however, one thing is for certain, myself, the chairman and the board all make decisions based solely around what we feel is right to safeguard the future longevity of this club.
“I have shared some great times with you all here and made some fantastic memories which will be with me forever.
“My brief, when I was first appointed back in January 2019, was to simply keep us in the league; we achieved that.
“We needed to make significant changes to the squad. Seven first-team players had left prior to my appointment and we were dead certs for relegation with 17 points all season up until that point.
“We brought belief back to the club. In the last two and a half months of season 2018/19 we managed to double that tally, with a magnificent run of six consecutive winning games, which saved us from a certain relegation.
“We begun this season with high hopes and went out and recruited on a large scale. I brought in players from pro club backgrounds, players which would maybe not have been here previously. We attracted players from the likes of the Arsenal development squad, Millwall, Dover, Gillingham and more.
“We set up a philosophy of being hard to beat at the back, Which we achieved all season having the fifth best defensive record in the league and I brought in the likes of Shaun Brown, Roman Campbell and Sid Sollis to boost our front lines, along with many other top young up and coming players.
“We started the season 2019/20 well with a couple of odd performances in games we should have won such as Guernsey 1-0, East Grinstead 2-2 and Faversham 1-0 but on the whole, massive progress had been made, to a point where by come mid-January 2020.
“We had turned the club around from being relegation fodder to play-offs contenders, but then as so often happens in football, we accumulate major injuries.
“Jason Fregene, simply put, you can’t replace a big player like that at this level without paying serious money. Shaun Brown suffers an MCL injury which keeps him out practically all season after showing some early promise. Then we have big players like Tommy Fagg and Chris Webber leave which in both cases I fully supported as it was the right moves for them both.
“We suddenly have lost four key starting players, three of which in such a short period of time, and in my view, we can’t replace that experience at that particular stage in the season.
“This leads us onto a really poor run of results, with confidence at an all-time low. The turning point for me was the two losses against Hastings and Ashford at home both 1-0 narrow defeats, both of which I say we should have taken points from. But that’s football. Those games we never really recovered from.
“I leave you at a time now where we are safe from relegation, barring a complete transformation by East Grinstead, Three Bridges and Ramsgate we are already safe.
“But the team need to pick themselves up, dust themselves down and get back out there playing for pride. At the end of the season the club can re-evaluate.
“There are a couple of things I wish to set the record straight on before I leave you.
“Firstly, I have read some comments on line regarding my role at Dover being linked to our recent poor performance, well, it’s simply not accurate.
“Since January I have spent only six hours at Dover; that’s it, the rest of my time has been 100% committed to Sittingbourne.
“Secondly, the Social Media side of things. Some people feel it’s acceptable to hide behind computers, make fake accounts and post all kinds of untruths online. My hope for the future is they are held accountable. They should consider the damage they can cause, not only to the individual and their family concerned, but also the actual club itself. The players read everything; it affects their confidence. I have seen it all too often with clubs and it’s a poor state of affairs. Having opinions is fine, as we all agree we all see the game differently but, personal attacks online are for cowards, my opinion on that will never change. At least make an effort to get the correct facts!
“Some people will say ‘Chris you are leaving us at the wrong time or you’re giving up.’ Well something has to change. I hear it in your voices and I can’t argue with it, results are results.
“I could have gone back in January leaving you in the play-offs. How good would that have looked on my personal CV? However, I decided to stay, as I had made a promise to the board, the players and you as fans.
"I don’t regret that decision, we gave it a real go, and you know what mid-January we were in with a shout of play-offs, which is something this club hasn’t seen in a long time.
“This club, these fans, these players and this management team all achieved that, and we should all be proud, however, it was not meant to be. We have regressed somewhat in the last 11 games. We have not scored enough goals this season and I can’t do much more than bring in the amazing front line I have. Big names at these levels, but it unfortunately hasn’t worked out, and that’s a burden for me to carry as the manager.
“The team needs you to get behind them more than ever now. The new manager will need your full support like only true Brickies can give. I ask you to give your all for them, as these players are good players; they work hard, they hate losing, we all hate losing and my decision is based upon the best interests of this great club. We have tried everything else, so maybe me leaving will generate some harsh truths which will hopefully inspire us all to be the best we can be and finish the last nine games on a high.
“I will be making calls to every player personally today, thanking them for their commitment to me and this club. Believe in them once more because I know this team can go on to achieve great future success. I would like to thank every player and member of staff who have contributed during my time here.
“This is the toughest call I have ever had to make in football, because I genuinely care for this club and its people. You have my respect and gratitude and will always remain in my thoughts and my heart. I hope you can understand my decision because facts are facts, 10 losses in 11 games, it has to stop.”
A club statement added: “The club would like to place on record our thanks to Chris for his time with the club and are sad that Chris has decided to go. We wish him well in the future and feel sure that his dedication and thoroughness will mean that he will succeed in football management sometime in the future.”
Sittingbourne welcome sixth-placed Chichester City to Woodstock Park on Saturday (15:00) and have appointed Darren Blackburn until the end of the season.