Northern Counties East League club Shirebrook Town were today rocked by the resignation of manager Julian Watts and his assistant, Ady Smith.
Watts arrived last September to replace Mark Camm and Danny Bacon after the club had made a poor start, and the former Luton Town, Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham defender took the club to a superb fourth place finish in Division One.
However, that spell ended abruptly today and Watts explained: “I just didn’t feel I was wanted there any more.
“At this time of year most chairmen are asking about which players are coming in and who we are playing pre-season.
“The chairman here said everything should be fine but he didn’t know where the club was at until they’d had a meeting.
“I feel like they might have someone else lined-up, though I’ve heard nothing.
I just didn’t feel I was wanted there any more
“I told the chairman I didn’t feel I was really wanted at the club any more and he just said no problem. He didn’t try to keep me.
“First this meeting was supposed to be last week, then this week and now next week. It just felt like they were waiting for me to resign. It didn’t feel like they wanted to sack me. Maybe they wanted it to go this way and it has done. So it feels the best for everyone if we part company and no hard feelings.”
Watts added: “We have had a great season and I have learned a lot which I will take away with me, so onwards and upwards.
“People have asked me if I loved my job at Shirebrook and I told them yes. Once I got the chance to go back there I jumped at the chance as I know what a good club it is with ambition.
“They’d taken six points from six games when I joined and promotion was never mentioned. They just wanted a good team playing well. In the end we finished fourth but didn’t get promotion, which was maybe seen as a failing on my part.
“But I don’t think I’ve done myself any harm. I think I did a really good job. If the club had not had such a bad start, who knows what might have happened?”
Watts confirmed Smith had also left the club, saying: “We will move on together – we are a double act.”
Shirebrook Town will release a statement soon and begin the search for a new manager.