WHITBY Town manager Tommy Cassidy has apologised to supporters after leaving the club at the weekend, almost a year to the day he was appointed, writes Andrew Snaith.
After exiting the FA Cup seven days earlier, The Blues crashed out of the FA Trophy on Saturday and the former Newcastle United midfielder told the Whitby Gazette it was the final straw.
“I watched the game from the stands and it was the most embarassing thing I’ve seen in many years, not months, years.
“But then it’s my team, I brought them - well most of them - so I take the blame.”
Cassidy, who led Workington to promotion from the same division six years ago, took over when Harry Dunn resigned last October, successfully avoiding relegation in April, but the Seasiders now sit third from bottom in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, after just one league win.
Committee member George Osborne, acting on behalf of chairman Graham Manser, stated just before noon on Sunday, via www.whitby-town.com, that Cassidy had left the club ‘by mutual agreement’.
The statement concluded: “Whitby Town Football Club would like to thank Tommy for all his efforts over the past year and wish him well for the future.”
Mr Manser also confirmed that goalkeeping coach Dennis Wheeler will take temporary charge ahead of the weekend’s gruelling 380-mile round-trip to fourth-placed Hednesford Town.
He added: “We liked Tommy for what he tried to do at the club, but both parties realised it wasn’t working.”
Cassidy spoke to the chairman and his understudy Andrew Spenceley straight after Saturday’s defeat, which was Town’s fifth in six games and on Sunday morning.
The outgoing Blues boss revealed: “I said to them, what’s your thoughts?
“They thought it wasn’t working and we came to an agreement that seemed to satisfy both camps.
“I want to make it clear I take the blame - we’ve won once in 14, so it’s my fault.”
The Northern Irishman, who played at the 1982 World Cup and managed in the European Cup with Cyprian side Apoel Nicosia, stated: “I brought in a lot of young players and it didn’t work out.
“Harry (Dunn) said last year, I’ve done all I can and that was with senior players - I thought we needed a revamp.
“Graham Manser said six months ago, you’ll find it difficult to get players in, I said we’ll see, but he was right.
“I spoke to a player last week, he said ‘you travel to Birmingham and Manchester, but I get more money in the Northern League’.”
However, the former Gateshead manager doesn’t regret trying to freshen up the squad with teenagers on loan and released Football League youngsters, as experienced former-pros Tony Hackworth and Jimmy Beadle left for Scarborough and Swedish football respectively.
“I apologise to our supporters, but I still think it’s the right way to go, to nurture them for 12 months,” he said.
“If we were mid-table now, there’s no way I’d have resigned as it would’ve been much easier and less pressure on the kids.
“I tried to revitalise the club, I thought one year from now, we’ll see the results.”
Cassidy, who also fell out with popular defender Ashley Lyth last month, revealed: “I left with a heavy heart, I just find the circumstances were very difficult and Saturday brought it to a head.
“I walked down to the dressing room at half-time and I didn’t know what to say.
“I was talking to them at 3-0 down and one or two were blaming each other, it’s never their fault and I can’t stand that, so I thought to myself, that’s not for me.
“I would like to think players went home at night, considered things and realised how they’d let the club down.
“I saw a completely different game from up in the stand and I saw our back four watch their strikers walk 10 yards in front and they let them do it. That kind of thing has been happening all season.”
Despite his disappointing departure, Cassidy stressed he has no hard feelings towards Whitby Town FC, concluding: “Nothing would give me more satisfaction than seeing Whitby further up the table.
“But I don’t know how another manager is going to get players into the club when the circumstances don’t lend itself to that, either financially or geographically.
“At Workington, it’s a bit of an outpost, but the Lancashire area helped me more than the Middlesbrough area has helped me at Whitby.
“It was an experience - a manager takes the plaudits and a manager takes the blame, that’s just the way it is.”