14th Dec, 2019

Byfield: I wasn’t allowed to manage

Stratford Editorial 6th Sep, 2018

DARREN Byfield says he has no regrets taking over as Stratford Town manager – despite ending his tenure after just six matches.

Byfield resigned on Wednesday, feeling his role had become untenable because of background issues over players and team selection.

The former Aston Villa, Walsall and Jamaica striker had quit after the first game of the Southern Premier Central season because of his dissatisfaction, but had been persuaded to stay on.

However, the 41-year-old former Redditch United boss and Solihull Moors coach felt the situation had not changed since then and, after talks with directors Ged McGrory and Mark Bickley on Tuesday night, he decided to leave.

Assistant Steve Walker and coach Nathan Marsh will take charge on Saturday when Town entertain Alvechurch in the FA Cup first qualifying round at the Arden Garages Stadium before the club look to appoint a new boss.

“If a club appoint a manager, then he should be allowed to manage,” said Byfield. “If I’m manager, I need to be the one making the decisions. Then you succeed or fail by what you do.

“It’s no secret I resigned after the first game of the season but we had a good chat and I was assured I’d be allowed to do my job, but not’s been the case.

Professional

“I’ve been professional in all my football, as a player, coach and manager, but if I cannot manage the team then it’s best if we go our separate ways.”

Byfield, appointed in May, had replaced long-serving Carl Adams when the latter ended a six-year reign to take over at Rugby Town.

Despite mixed results with a new team – one win, two draws and three defeats so far – Byfield said he had enjoyed working with the players and he thanked the staff and fans for their support.

“The players were the reason I stayed after the first game. I enjoyed working with them, trying to make them better players, working together to take the club forward,” he said.

“I don’t regret coming to Stratford.

“Stratford’s a brilliant club and the fans have been great. It was an exciting project but it’s just not worked out.

“I have to say a big thank you to the fans who made me feel so welcome.

“Behind the scenes there are some great people too. I’ve got the utmost respect for Russell Martin, the owner. He is a real gentleman.

“The club deserves success and I wish them well.”

In an initial statement, the club said they thanked Byfield for his hard work and efforts but a subsequent release claimed Byfield’s exit suited both parties, saying results had been poor and suggesting the way some players had departed had been disappointing.

Both Dan Summerfield and Edwin Ahenkorah have left in the past two weeks – defender Summerfield joining Redditch United alongside Liam Francis and striker Ahenkorah moving to Rushall Olympic.

“Darren joined the club in June and, despite a heavily increased playing budget, early results have been poor and players have been allowed to leave the club in a manner the board felt was not in the best interests of the club,” said the statement from director Steve Shipway.

“Darren met with two members of the board on Tuesday evening and as a result of that meeting it was decided the best action for both parties was to part company.

“Steve Walker and Nathan Marsh will look after the first team whilst the club goes through the process of sourcing and appointing a new manager.”

Stratford Town U18s will hope they have provided an incentive for the first team in their cup test after knocking Alvechurch out of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night.

Goals from Michael O’Regan, Jack Ballinger, Bradley West and Harry Hartin sealed a 4-1 win for the Town youngsters in the preliminary round tie at Lye Meadow.

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