Martin Larkin drops bombshell and quits Tunbridge Wells due to a change in his work circumstances

Sunday 21st June 2015

TUNBRIDGE WELLS begin the search for a new manager after Martin Larkin dropped a bombshell by announcing his resignation through a change in his work circumstances.

The club finished their Southern Counties East Football League campaign in the top five last season, finishing a disappointing 27 points adrift of promoted champions, Phoenix Sports, who will be playing Ryman League Division One North football next season.

GONE: Martin Larkin has resigned as the manager of Tunbridge Wells.
Photo: Tunbridge Wells FC


Larkin’s best achievement whilst in charge for six years at Culverden Stadium, was guiding the club to its only Wembley Final in 2013, when they were defeated 2-1 by Northern League powerhouse Spennymoor Town in The FA Vase.

Midfielder Joe Fuller has been put in caretaker charge during pre-season while the club advertise for a new manager to carry on with Larkin’s work to clinch promotion into the Ryman League.

Chairman Clive Maynard issued two statements on the club’s official website when the news broke on Sunday lunchtime – not only today being Fathers Day, but the day of the League’s Annual General Meeting.

“It is with regret that Tunbridge Wells Football Club have accepted the resignation of Martin Larkin,” he said.

“During Martin’s tenure as first team manager of the club has achieved much, the first silverware in twenty-five years, three further cup finals, including The FA Vase Cup Final at Wembley and a trend of improving league finishes.

“Martin described having to make the decision to resign as “horrific.”

“Martin has always done what is best for the Football Club that he feels so deeply about.

“He is aware of the number of hours that are required to drive the Football Club forward.

“Regrettably the change in work circumstances mean that he will be unable to dedicate the required time to achieve that he sought for the club.

“The board wishes to place on record their sincere thanks to Martin for all of the hard work that he has put in, to get the club to where it is today.

“We wish him every success for the future and look forward to seeing him at the Culverden as a spectator in the near future.”

Mr Maynard revealed that Larkin will have input into who will succeed him at the helm at Culverden Stadium.

The job is expected to be hotly sought by managers at this level and above as the club attract the largest crowds in the Southern Counties East Football League and promotion into the Ryman League is deemed a priority.

Mr Maynard issued a second statement and admitted Larkin’s departure has come as a “surprise.”

He said: “Well, close season usually presents a challenge or two what with stadium maintenance, pitch work, talking to sponsors and advertisers but the one thing that I was not contemplating was appointing a new manager.

“The wonderful thing about football is that boards, players and supporters whilst all wanting the same thing will all have slightly different opinions of how the common goal is achieved.

“The board made the decision that Martin was the right man to continue to lead the club forward on the pitch for the coming season.

“However, we now have the urgent task of appointing Martin’s successor, following his surprise resignation.

“When Martin telephoned me to tell me of his decision and the reasons behind his thinking I knew straight away that his mind was set and that he wouldn’t deviate from his chosen path.

“Personally, I am saddened to see Martin go, his passion for the club, his burning desire to test himself and his focus on driving the club forward are attributes that are not needed to be manager of this club, they are the essential skills required.

“Martin has been an outstanding servant to the club dedicating himself to two training sessions per week, watching other sides once a week and on top of that there is a small matter of match days.

“Always the first to arrive, always planning, checking the state of the pitch ensuring that every i was dotted and every T crossed.

“He is going to be sadly missed and not easily replaced. I wish Martin every success for the future which initially will be minus his beloved Football Club which of course if Tunbridge Wells.

“The board have set the wheels in motion to start the process of appointing a successor and I am pleased to be able to tell you that Martin is going to assist the board with this task.

“Whoever is appointed will of course go through due process, interviewed by the board, where we will have the opportunity to sell our vision for the club and give the interviewee the opportunity to sell their plan to ensure that this club achieves its primary goal of Ryman football.

“Whilst time is of the essence this is not a process that can be rushed as we have to ensure that the appointment made will fulfil, short, medium and long term ambitions.

“I am readily reminded by the saying “act in haste, repent in leisure.”

Tunbridge Wells have lost two strikers from last season’s squad to league rivals, as Brendon Cass has already joined Erith & Belvedere as their new player-coach, while Paul Booth has signed for Ashford United.

Mr Maynard said: “Martin has done much of the planning for the coming season and the squad is nearly in place. However, I am aware that the squad has been assembled by Martin and there are obviously going to be questions asked by the players.

“To ensure that we allay as many of these fears as possible a meeting has been arranged with the squad and this will take place with the board early this week.

“I am delighted to announce that Joe Fuller has kindly agreed to act as caretaker manager until such time the board is in a position to appoint a permanent manager.

“Joe’s brief has been set out to him and please join with me in wishing him every success in pre-season.

“I will of course keep you updated on developments, it is the board’s intention to have the successor in place by no later than the end of July.

“Finally, I would once again like to thank Martin for his enormous contribution to the club and to re-iterate my best wishes to him and his family for the future.”

Mr Maynard is accepting applications ahead of the deadline, Friday, 4 July 2015.

Applicants should have experience of managing at a minimum of Step 5 and preferably hold a Level 3 UEFA B licence.

Applications can be made via email to Clive Maynard or alternatively by mail to Clive Maynard, Tunbridge Wells Football Club Limited, Culverden Stadium, Culverden Down, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9SG.

For an informal chat about the position please call Mr Maynard on 07731 637 860.

Tunbridge Wells kick-off their six-match pre-season campaign with a trip to Kent Invicta League side Crockenhill on Saturday 11 July 2015.

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