Cray Valley: The reasons leading to parting company with James Collins were cumulative and involved non-football related issues

Thursday 24th August 2017

CRAY VALLEY have said they parted company with James Collins last Friday morning which were cumulative and involved non-football related issues.

The Eltham based club were heavily criticised after they sacked Collins, 34, despite the club finishing in their highest ever league position in the top four of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division last season, having collected 75 points from their 38 league games.

The Millers also reached the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Final, when they lost 2-1 to Ashford United, and pulled off giant-killing acts to beat Welling United, AFC Wimbledon, Dulwich Hamlet and Metropolitan Police to become the first club at their level to win the London Senior Cup (Sponsored by Coventry Scaffolding).

Cray Valley started this season with a 3-1 win at Abbey Rangers in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round and defeated Bearsted 3-1 at Honey Lane and much-fancied Sevenoaks Town 2-1 at Middle Park Avenue, which has them in third-place in the table at this early stage.

Collins said in his statement that: “Unfortunately, during my time as manager I have had to deal with as many off-field issues as I have on the field, managing the team as you do at this level of football.

“However, I believe that as a manager you need to be free to pick the team and sign the players that you believe are right in order to get results.

“As manager’s we live and die by these decisions and ultimately if you fail you accept the consequences. 

“It has become apparent over the past few weeks that certain members of the committee have a slightly different view which I believe has culminated in my dismissal.”  

But Collins was sacked before the clubs FA Cup Preliminary Round tie at Erith & Belvedere, which saw reserve team boss Tommy Osborne lead the club to a 4-1 win and Cray Valley have since appointed former Chatham Town boss Kevin Watson, 36, as their new manager and takes charge of the side at Glebe on Bank Holiday Monday, 28 August 2017 (15:00).

“Like many other clubs at our level, it is administered and run by a committee of nine, unpaid, hard-working people,” said a club statement.

“We are fortunate to have a number of major sponsors, some of whom have an active role serving on the committee.

“Out of respect, the club will not elaborate or make any further comment, other than to clarify that the reasons leading to parting company with James Collins were cumulative and involved non-football related issues.

“The club has communicated its reasons to the people that matter, namely the players and staff that we want to retain and as far as we are concerned, this is an end to the matter.

“We have appointed Kevin Watson as our new manager and we look forward to a mutually rewarding and successful partnership as we head towards our centenary year and beyond.”