AFTER being in charge of the first team for 42 games, Lyme Regis Football Club’s three-man management team – Robin Townsend, Steve Crabb and Mark Lock – have relinquished their position with nine games left this season.
Townsend, who had a three-year spell running thew first team from 2009 to 2012, assisted by Malcolm Darby, informed club chairman Howard Larcombe that he and his two assistants had decided to stand down at the end of the season.
The decision was made after Saturday’s disappointing 1-1 draw at bottom club Alphington 2nds, a result which almost certainly will mean the Seasiders’ will miss out on promotion to the Devon & Exeter League’s Premier Division.
Townsend told Mr Larcombe they would be prepared to stay until the end of the season so as not to leave the club in difficulty but it was mutually agreed that they would leave with immediate effect so as not to cause any reduction in morale amongst the players.
Bridport-based Townsend, Crab and Lock took charge of the team when the decision was made to move from the Perry Street League to Devon & Exeter football and steered the team to promotion from Division Two into Division One, the first time the Seasiders had played in senior football.
Indifferent form away from home
Lyme got off to a good start to the season and looked a side more than capable of winning promotion to then top division, but indifferent form, especially in away fixtures, has resulted in too many points being lost to be considered contenders, despite the fact they still occupy second place in the table. The chasing pack, however, have a number of games in hand and the Seasiders could end up mid-table.
Club captain Mark Bailey has agreed to take charge of the first team in a caretaker capacity with help from Reserve team manager Gerard Hitchcock and club secretary Rob Thom.
After speaking to Townsend this morning (Monday), Mr Larcombe issued the following statement: “On behalf of the club I’d like to thank Robin, Steve and Mark for their efforts over the past season and a half. They brought a wealth of experience of tactics, passion and camaraderie both at training and on matchdays. An awful lot of work goes on behind the scenes in putting a team together and their willingness to increase the professionalism in the club was evident from day one.
“I’m sure the players have learned far more than they are aware of and it has been interesting to see the development of some of the younger ones over the past 18 months. I know they were very keen to take the team up in the Devon & Exeter League Premier Division.
Promotion to Premier unlikely
The home form has been good, we are unbeaten is six at the Davey Fort during this heavily disjointed season, but I know they were frustrated by some indifferent away displays which has made promotion look unlikely now and maybe feel they have taken the team as far as they can.”
“We certainly wish Robin, Steve and Mark well and look forward to seeing them back at the club in the future.
“We’ll begin the process of finding a permanent replacement and will be looking to have somebody in place once the current season draws to a close. In the meantime first team vice captain Mark Bailey, along with help from club secretary Rob Thom and Reserve team manager Gerard Hitchcock, will take charge of the team in a caretaker capacity.”
Townsend told LymeOnline Sport: “We offered our resignation to the club which has been accepted. There were many factors which led us to this decision but we feel we are at a crossroads and would like to thank all the committee, managers, players for helping us and wish Mark and Rob all the best for the rest of the season.
“On a personal notify thanks go to Locky and Crabby for the effort which I believe has made some great improvements to the club on a playing level.”