Bobby Wilkinson - told players at half-time
HUNGERFORD TOWN manager Bobby Wilkinson has resigned with immediate effect to leave The Crusaders with a huge gap to fill in the club’s second season in the Vanarama National League South.
Players were left stunned after the final whistle when an emotional Wilkinson told them that Saturday’s match at Welling United was his last in charge.
He has been followed out of the door at Bulpit Lane by his assistants Jamie Leacock and Mike Percival, and recently elected chairman Ian Passey has also said that he is considering his future.
Already Wilkinson has been linked with the vacant manager’s position at Torquay United, and Wilkinson said: “I do want to move on a level.
“There’s a few little things in the pipeline but nothing certain and I may be taking a gamble.
“But I won’t be out of the game for long."
Wilkinson’s resignation comes after eight dramatic during which he took the little club from close to the bottom of the Southern League’s South and West Division to the Vanarama National League South, separated from the Football League by one division, and Hungerford were one place off the play-off to win promotion to that level last season.
Wilkinson said after the match at Welling: “Today was my last game. It’s time to move on. It’s time to call it a day.
“It’s because of the boys here that I’ve stayed for so long. I made up my mind a week ago, but I didn’t want to go out on a losing streak, but it is what it is.
“I can’t thank them and everyone else enough, but I don’t know how long I could take things going on behind the scenes.”
SKIPPER Matt Day summed up the players’ mood when he said: “It’s a massive, massive bombshell.
“I didn’t want to believe, but Bob gathered us around at the end and told us his decision.
“I’ve been with Bob since day one and there are a lot of gutted players. But as a club, we have got to move on. We are still competing in this league and I believe we can turn it around.”
MOST of Hungerford’s committee left at the final whistle at Welling, where Hungerford lost 3-2. But chairman Ian Passey was informed and he said: “I’m absolutely devastated.
“I genuinely believe we’ve got the best manager outside the Football League and his record speaks for itself.
“I only got involved with the club because of Bobby so I’m going to think about my future.
“But first we have to get together and think very carefully about where Hungerford go from here.”
Hungerford have this week to reorganise, although with training twice this week, two Bank Holiday weekend matches and only goalkeeping coach Ian Hobbs on the staff, urgency is the key.