Dave Deacon Posted March 12 Report Share Posted March 12 A casualty of the merger not going ahead! Press Release from Graham Hambly DARREN Stewart will step down as manager of South West Peninsula League club Ivybridge Town at the end of the season and has officially informed the players and club committee of his decision. He explains “The club were aware prior to the current campaign that promotion was the sole focus of this season for me and that I would be prepared and excited to lead the club into a new era in step five football but, if we did not achieve this, then my time at the club would finish. “The massive disappointment to all of us was the recent announcement that the proposed merger between the South West and Western Leagues had fallen through. It meant that from being in a very strong position, sitting comfortably in a promotion place, we suddenly had to win the league to achieve promotion. “Recent dropped points now make this unobtainable, so it makes sense for my decision to go public and give the club the opportunity to plan ahead with regards to putting a structure in place for next season’s campaign. “I will see the season through, however, and our pre-season target of a top four finish will still be the case.” Stewart has been at the club for five seasons after succeeding former Plymouth Argyle favourite Nicky Marker and led the club into the new East Division structure of the Peninsula League following the final season of the former South Western League. Stewart’s record has been an impressive one with the club and the Ivies were in a great promotion position during the covid affected seasons, falling just short in the points per game equation. The side also narrowly missed out on a League Cup final place last season, losing 2-1 to St Blazey after conceding a last-minute goal in the semi-final. Ivybridge’s league record in this period is 78 wins and 23 draws in the 141 games under Stewart’s reign. Stewart, who is currently employed as the Sports Manager at Marine Academy and heads up the community football programme there, also previously coached within the Plymouth Argyle Academy. He said: “With my knowledge of talented young footballers in the area through my job and coaching background, when I took the role at Ivybridge we shifted the culture to recruit and give young players the platform to play at this level. We kept the philosophy consistent in this time and our heavy emphasis on coaching and playing a certain brand of football has served the club well.” Stewart feels the club are now in a great position to attract a manager to take them forward as they look to build another campaign in step six next season, adding: “I had to be honest with myself, the club and, most importantly, the players. I felt I would have lacked the desire and passion to rebuild a side for this division again. There are some fantastic football people out there who, I’m sure, would relish the challenge and give promotion a real go again next season. “Ivybridge is a great club with some amazing people behind the scenes who have become good friends, too many to name. I would like the thank them all and, of course, all the players and staff who have been with me in this time. I sincerely wish the club the best of fortunes going forward.” The club’s long serving general manager Brian Howard praised Stewart’s work during his five seasons with the club, commenting: “He has done brilliantly for us and brought a professional approach into the things we do. He has created a successful team, despite not having the finances of some other clubs in our division.” Howard is already looking at possibilities in terms of finding a replacement and hopes to make an announcement before the end of the season, adding: “We will be looking to build on what we have achieved with Darren.” Press Release from Graham Hambly Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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