Thu, 26 Apr 2018
AFTER five years in charge of Newbury Blues, Lee Goodall will take control of his final game on Saturday afternoon at Newton Abbot.
It was announced last week that Goodall’s long relationship with Newbury will be coming to an end after having previous spells with the ladies team and coaching the senior squad.
The head coach progressed through the club’s development programme and, after playing for Newbury, Goodall gained coaching experience with Alton and Berkshire RFC.
Speaking about the decision to leave, he said: “I’ve been thinking about it since Christmas, but I informed the club about four weeks ago.”
In Goodall’s final home game at Monks Lane last weekend, Blues beat second-placed Bournemouth 20-17 to set up an intense finish against Newton Abbot.
Despite amassing 59 points, Newbury are currently in the relegation zone in the South West Premier, one point behind Exmouth who host Camborne this weekend.
Although Goodall didn’t want any distractions ahead of the crucial period, he felt he had to announce his decision prior to his final game at Monks Lane.
He said: “I told the players and we didn’t want it to be broadcast because we still have a job to do about keeping this team in the league it deserves to be in.
“I didn’t want it to become a distraction, but when you get closer to that final home game, you have to announce these things.”
There was another big crowd at Monks Lane and Goodall believes this has helped his team record some vital wins.
He said: “It’s galvanised the team and we had a great attendance on Saturday from the supporters that have been loyal for five years and you can’t fault that because they’ve followed us around the country.
“There are good people, good players and a good committee and it was extremely tough [to decide to leave].”
Although it’s the end of his period with Blues, Goodall believes he has achieved what he set out to do when he replaced Ngapaku Ngapaku in July 2013.
He said: “When I took over as head coach five years ago, I was given the task of re-building and preparing a team that had been in decline for many years.
“We gave ourselves a five-year plan to get ourselves back up into the national leagues and we did it in four.”
However, Goodall is still not sure what the future holds for him, although he feels the change is the best thing to do.
He said: “I’m shattered from the last season and the last year and I achieved everything I needed to achieve – it’s now time for me to start to look for something a little bit different.
“I haven’t got anything yet. I am still focussing on this season before I actively start pursuing other things.
“I have to step away from it for a few weeks to see some of the family.”