Wakeling explains shock Hullbridge exit

JAMES WAKELING sited internal club politics as the reason behind his and Darren Manning’s shock decision to part company with Hullbridge Sports.

The popular duo led the Lower Road outfit to the Isthmian League for the first time in their history following a memorable Essex Senior League title-winning campaign in 2018/19.

But former assistant boss, Wakeling, spoke about an undercurrent of turmoil which he believed undermined the management’s quest for continued progress.

There’s a lot of in-house stuff going on at the moment which was causing a bit of a problem with me and Darren doing the job one hundred per cent – You can’t work like that,” Wakeling told Yellow Sport.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, that’s for sure. We’ve had two and a half years there and a special two and a half years as well. It wasn’t an easy thing to do but we thought it was right, especially with the Chairman leaving, who we had a close relationship with.”

“For those on the outside looking in, it was a shock because the club has done so well. Nobody was expecting this to happen.

“Largely, we have been supported. I think a few eyebrows were raised when we took the job and targeted the Isthmian League. Most people backed us and we achieved something special. But that became disjointed and we found it difficult to continue.”

Wakeling confirmed that linking up with a new club hadn’t really crossed his mind and suggested that the Hubblidge board were stunned to see the duo resign.

“There have been a few murmurs going around – Nothing concrete,” he added.

“So many people have expressed how shocked they are about us leaving. People referred to us as ‘Mr Hullbridge’ it was perfect, we didn’t want to leave. If other clubs start calling it will take us a bit of time to sit down and work out what is best for us.

“We emailed the committee members our resignation – they were shocked. I don’t think they expected it. We’ve had a lot of messages in response from people expressing that they want us to stay and to rethink the decision. We’ve received some nice comments which are nice to hear.”

Nevertheless, Wakeling did leave the door open for a possible return to the club, explaining: “In a dream situation, I’d love for it to be resolved peacefully. If there was a way back I’m sure, not speaking for Darren, but I’m sure he’d – like me – be open to going back there. But sometimes it is best to leave it where it is, move on and take another journey.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]