Garry Wilson said that a combination of footballing and personal reasons were behind his and Danny Bloor’s decision to stand down as manager and assistant manager of Hastings United Football Club.
Wilson and Bloor informed the players of their intentions immediately after United’s final match of the season at home to Herne Bay this afternoon (Saturday).
But the 2-1 defeat and subsequent failure to make the Ryman Football League Division One South promotion play-offs had no bearing on their decision as they had already made their minds up beforehand.
Wilson said: “We’ve talked about it for the last six or seven weeks. We sat and thought about things, and there’s a couple of things on the football side that’s not quite right and a couple of things in our personal lives we want to take up and explore. Danny’s boy’s at Mansfield and my boy’s going to America.”
Wilson and Bloor arrived at The Pilot Field last summer following a dreadful 2014/15 campaign in which United narrowly avoided relegation and got through three permanent managers.
Armed with an extremely competitive playing budget, Wilson and Bloor assembled a strong-looking squad containing plenty of higher level experience and the club hoped to challenge for promotion in 2015/16.
United made good progress in the FA Cup, FA Trophy and Ryman League Cup, as well as pulling off a tremendous Sussex Senior Cup victory away to League Two side Crawley Town, but while their league form was much-improved on last term, on the whole it lacked the desired consistency.
They still managed to score 99 league goals and accrue 81 points - two more than the club achieved when it scraped into the play-offs two years ago - but finished two points and two places outside the all-important top five.
“It’s been a good year,” continued Wilson. “We would’ve liked to get them in the play-offs; it’s not happened so that’s a disappointment. But I think we’ve left a good squad of players and a good platform. They should be up there next year challenging for titles I think.
“We’ve changed a lot of things at the club and a lot of things for the better. We’ve introduced more of a winning mentality, and a lot of practices and standards we’ve set are high. Hopefully someone will continue the job we’ve started.”
Wilson said he was glad he came back to The Pilot Field for a second spell at a club which he previously managed between 1995 and 1998 (when it was playing under the name Hastings Town).
“It’s been a real pleasure,” he went on. “There’s some really good people at Hastings United. The chairman (Dave Ormerod) is a great guy, and people like (directors) Tony Cosens and Pat McCrossan are really genuine guys. I want to thank the players for the season and the supporters.”
Wilson, who was at Stranraer and Queens Park in his native Scotland before heading south in the 1990s, is best known for overseeing Eastbourne Borough’s meteoric rise from the Sussex County Football League to the Conference Premier during well over a decade in charge at Priory Lane.
He later managed Lewes, with Bloor as his assistant, between May 2013 and February 2015. And when he stepped into the United hot seat, Wilson said he had unfinished business at the club and it was one of the few jobs which would have tempted him back into management.
Asked if he would be interested in returning to the dugout at some point in the future, Wilson said: “We’ll see what happens in football in the future. You can never rule out doing something else in the future.”
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