Tompkins leaves Dockers' in lurch with late resignation

Wednesday 06th August 2008

MANAGER Mark Tompkins has left Bulmers Cider Kent League side Erith Town in the lurch - by quitting the club just three days before the start of new season, writes Stephen McCartney.

Tompkins, 41, who guided the club to their best ever season last term, winning the Kent League Cup and finishing their 32-matrch league campaign in fifth place, telephoned chairman Albert Putman and general manager Ian Birrell this afternoon to confirm his sudden departure.

The news comes as a shock to the club, especially as they kick-off their new campaign next Monday, 11th August.

The Dockers, who have struck a two-year groundshare deal at Thamesmead Town, open against Greenwich Borough.

Tompkins, speaking to, explained why he’s dropped a bombshell upon the club, and admits he's put the club's preparations for the new season in tatters.

“I took the side as far as I can really,” said Tompkins. “There’s no bad feeling, I haven’t left on bad feelings or bad terms - I just feel I need a new challenge myself.

“The timing’s not the greatest. I just fancy a new challenge.

“I’ve got other things in my life at the moment that I have to sort out as well but I just feel I lost a little bit of enjoyment over there.”

Tompkins revealed that he hasn’t told his squad of his departure, leaving chairman Albert Putman to break the news at Thursday night’s training session.

“Albert the chairman will contact players and staff, what they do will be entirely up to them,” said Tompkins.

Tompkins hasn’t ruled out signing for any of Dockers’ Bulmers Cider Kent League rivals in time for the big kick off on Saturday, subject to paperwork.

The 41-year-old, much-travelled striker, said: “If any clubs out there want a new striker with a few goals in him, I’m still a phone call away.

And he added: “Ideally I’d like to get back into a player-manager’s role.

“The only thing I can say is that I leave the club in a healthy state, on the playing side.

“Whoever the next manager is, he’s got a good squad of players with a healthy budget, if it stays the same, and the groundshare with Thamesmead, so whoever comes in could push on what I started.”

Tompkins’ last game in charge was the club’s last pre-season friendly at Metrogas, which ended in a 1-1 draw, with Lewis Wood, who signed from Cray Wanderers, getting on the score sheet.

“First half we missed a few chances in the first 25 minutes and then I made a few changes at half-time, which always upsets the rhythm of the game.

“I signed Lewis Wood last night, who scored, I haven’t told him (that I’ve left the club). The chairman’s probably going to ring round to tell them and to see who’s staying and going.”

But Tompkins says he’ll be back in football, adding: “Hopefully, I’m not out of a job too long!”

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Erith Town v Greenwich Borough
Bulmers Cider Kent League
Monday 11th August 2008
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ