22nd Oct, 2019

Departed Baillie weighs up options

Stratford Editorial 23rd May, 2019

THOMAS BAILLIE could make a swift return to football after stepping down as Stratford Town boss – or take a break from the game.

Baillie has resigned as head of football, having led Town to their highest ever league position in Southern Premier Central, winning the Southern League Challenge Cup for the first time and also enjoying their best run in the FA Trophy before bowing out to eventual winners AFC Fylde.

Baillie, who works for an Italian-based business and lives in Corby, said ‘ongoing personal commitments’ were behind his decision to leave Knights Lane.

However, since the news was announced, the former Kettering Town boss has been contacted by other clubs keen to take him on board.

It is understood Stourbridge had expressed an interest before they named Alvechurch boss Ian Long as the successor to Gary Hackett.

He stressed, though, that he was in no rush to decide on his future, especially with work taking him across Europe.

“Stratford offered me the job for next season or to stay and work behind the scenes but there were doubts in my mind whether I could carry on,” he said.

“I’m away a lot, I’m unsure what I could do so I felt it was right to have a clean break.

“Since then, I’ve had clubs contacting me and putting offers on the table, clubs from around the same level, but I need to think things over with my family. It is a big commitment.

“I do get paid through football but that’s not what drives me. It’s about how I enjoy it and how much enthusiasm I can give with everything else going on in my life.”

Baillie had joined Stratford in September after the exit of Darren Byfield and, working alongside Steve Walker, they steered Town from the bottom four to the top five, figuring in the league’s form teams for the majority of the second half of the season.

Having finished a best ever fifth, they were knocked out in the play-offs at King’s Lynn Town but Baillie was able to reflect on the ‘most successful season in the club’s 75-year history’.

“Stratford is a great club – it was a pleasure to be part of a special season,” he said. “When I came in they were in a transition period but everybody worked so hard to make it the best season they have ever had.

“The board, the players and supporters have all been fantastic with me.

“We raised expectation levels as the season went on and I think we delivered. We can all feel proud of what we’ve achieved.”

A statement from the club added: “We would like to thank Thomas for all his hard work and for his valuable contribution to the club’s best ever season and he will always be a welcome visitor to Stratford.”

Coaches Walker and Paul Davis will continue in joint caretaker manager roles while Town review the interest and applications for the manager position.

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