David Batch resigns as manager of St Neots Town . . . but stresses his number two Steve Eastaugh should succeed him
- Credit: Archant
David Batch has resigned as manager of St Neots Town – a few months ahead of schedule.
Batch, who took charge in late December, 2014, has called time on a near 13-month reign at the Premier Plus Stadium.
Batch guided the Saints to within touching distance of promotion to the National League when they were controversially beaten in the Southern League Premier Division Play-Offs final at Truro City last season.
But the current campaign has not gone to plan. He leaves Saints languishing in 18th position in the Premier Division and without a win in their last 10 fixtures.
Batch, a former Cambridge City, Wroxham and AFC Sudbury chief, insists he had intended to leave at the end of the current season anyway due to the combination of family and business commitments.
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In a lengthy statement on the club’s official website, Batch said: It was my intention, even if we went one step further than last year and gained promotion to National League, to retire from football at the end of this season to enable me to enjoy more family time with my wife and four young kids, as well as maximising the increasing international opportunities for my business.
“Our new chairman has told me that he wants me to drive the club forward alongside him, but with the play-offs now looking very unlikely this season due to the unprecedented injury crises we have suffered since pre-season, as well as a requirement for me to travel to China more regularly, I think it’s right to move that decision forward to allow a new manager to get a head start for next season.
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“I am sure results will improve during the final months of the season as players return to fitness and coupled with new faces arriving, it will be the chance to experiment a bit.
“I’ve been fortunate that since returning to football management seven years ago, I’ve enjoyed a Wembley final, one league championship, a play-off final and several cup finals.
“Two of the three clubs I’ve managed have, in that time, recorded their highest league position in their history, with the other club enjoying their first cup final for several years in front of nearly 3,000 people.
“At two of the clubs we’ve built full time youth policies from scratch, when the club previously had nothing and which have already reaped rewards.
“Each season has seen an improvement in league position on the last, with every club finishing in a higher league position than the previous year and every year, each club I’ve been at has finished either winners or runners up in one competition or another.
“All of this is something I am of course proud of and will look back on fondly, but I know I will not treasure these memories as much as I will the ones with my wife and kids.”
And Batch believes his ideal successor is already present at St Neots. He is backing number two Steve Eastaugh – a UEFA A badge-holder to become the new boss.
Batch also believes there are a number of senior players capable of stepping into off-field roles.
He added: “I have offered to help Lee in any way I can and to even stay until someone is appointed, but I hope I won’t have to do that as St Neots already have the ideal person to move things on in Steve.
“Steve is as qualified as anyone the club could get, and is an excellent man manager and communicator (something which is his day job).
“He has been with me on the same football journey for the last seven years so he is aware of what it takes to create successful teams.
“He hasn’t been a manager yet, but there are many managers without even some of the qualities he has working far higher in the ladder. I for one hope he gets that chance.
“There are also some senior players at the club that have captained at Football League level who will want to take the step into management in the future and I think this also represents a chance to involve them in that journey too.
“I would like to thank everyone at St Neots for my time there. I’ve always been made very welcome and the supporters have been great. I wish Lee every success with his new venture as owner and of course all the players and staff that have been there during my time. Many of whom I have brought to the club.
“Finally my thanks to Mike Kearns whom I enjoyed working with very much and has, with the support of Lee, built a great club that I am sure will be successful in the future.”
Coach John Beck and goalkeeping coach Darren Plowman are also understood to have left St Neots.