Neil Smith: I'm saddened to be leaving Bromley Football Club
NEIL SMITH says he is feeling saddened to be leaving Bromley after parting company with the Hayes Lane outfit whilst in seventh-place in the Vanarama National League after talks with chairman Robin Stanton-Gleaves this morning.
“I’m saddened to be leaving Bromley Football Club,” Smith, 49, said in a statement.
“I still believed we could have finished in the play-offs, given we’re now in seventh place, and I am disappointed I couldn’t finish what I felt I had started this season.
“It’s been a great and unforgettable 10 years at the club for me, initially coming in with Mark Goldberg as his assistant and fighting relegation in the Conference South, to then turning things around and reaching the playoffs, followed by winning the League title the following year.
“I’m also proud that since I became manager in 2016, we have established ourselves in the National League, competing with some big clubs and often getting the better of them. Those victories over the likes Leyton Orient and Notts County to name but two were certainly amongst the highlights of my time at the club.
“Of course though, my proudest moment is leading the club to the FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium in 2018 and taking 20,000 wonderful supporters to back us on the day, which certainly made it even more memorable. It was an incredible sight to walk out and see them all there.
“I was honoured to work alongside Mark Hammond to play a part in creating and growing a fantastic Academy, which went from 30 students to when I first started, to over 250 now. Some of those have come through to the first-team, which is testament to the staff at the Academy.
“I’d like to thank every player who’s worked under me here, especially when I took over as manager in difficult times back in 2016. They’ve all supported me, as have the coaches who’ve been and gone.
“The Academy staff and the dedicated, talented team of coaches, have all backed me whenever I’ve needed them.
“A massive thanks must go to Alan Dunne, Andy Little, Ben May who developed from a player to a coach with us, Roger Johnson as both a player and coach, and Richard Stirling. But my biggest thanks goes to Mark Hammond, who eight years ago, we took on to help us with the first-team and Academy. Not only has he made the Academy a huge success, but he’s been my right-hand man always going above and beyond for me in what was far more than a working relationship.
“I’d like to put on record my thanks to Jerry Dolke, who was the chairman when I started, and the late Glyn Beverly who was always a massive support and a father figure to me. When Glyn sadly passed, Jerry became my mentor and more recently my director of football. He and his wife Julia have been phenomenal in all my time here.
“All the club off-field staff have always been there for me and made sure I had the best support possible. They have all played a huge part in progressing the club off the field.
“Jon Plassard and David Waller (directors) have also always been there to support me and I thank them too. I’d like to wish Robin (Stanton-Gleaves) and everyone else at the club all the very best and thank them for the opportunity I had to manage my home-town club.
“My final thanks goes to the supporters. They have been a constant support in all my time here and have really helped spur us onto everything we have achieved together. It’s been a pleasure to be around them for so many years and will miss them greatly.
“I look forward to returning in the future at some point to see everyone again.”
Bromley travel to fifth-placed Wrexham on Saturday (15:00) - behind closed doors and only three points behind the Welsh side.
Bromley have collected 44 points from their 29 league games (12 wins, eight draws and nine defeats).
Visit Bromley’s website: www.bromleyfc.tv