NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Statistics don’t tell the whole story about departed St Neots Town boss Marc Abbott

Director of football Matt Clements has been in temporary charge of St Neots Town since the resignati

Director of football Matt Clements has been in temporary charge of St Neots Town since the resignation of Marc Abbott (left). Picture: MARK RIDER - Credit: Archant

Director of football Matt Clements insists departed manager Marc Abbott was a considerably better St Neots Town boss than his record might suggest.

Abbott resigned from his role with the Southern League Division One Central strugglers earlier today to return to former club Haverhill Rovers as player-boss.

Abbott won just eight of the 42 games he took charge of during his eight months in the Saints hotseat, but Clements insists he shouldn't be judged on statistics alone.

And Clements also said the resignation of their manager came as a surprise to the Saints hierarchy who were fully behind him to lead their long-term plan.

"Marc did very good things at Haverhill Rovers which is why we brought him to the club," said Clements.

"We knew he did have the experience of Step 3 and Step 4, but we wanted to give a young manager an opportunity to step up in an environment with little or no pressure.

"Our record on paper doesn't look great in Marc's time as manager but that doesn't tell the whole story.

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"He worked hard to improve the team this season and recent performances and results suggested that was happening.

"Any player at this club will tell you that Marc has tried to make them a better footballer and a better person.

"Even though we're struggling in the table, there is absolutely no way we would have considered removing Marc as manager.

"It has come as a shock to us as we had hoped Marc would lead our long-term project to bring through a new generation of our own players.

"He has conducted himself with class through every minute of his time as our manager and his reasons for resigning are completely genuine.

"Marc has a young family and a lot of commitments in his role at Cambridge United. Haverhill is five minutes down the road whereas we were an hour away.

"I'm sure Marc will be a big success back at Haverhill just as he would have been in the long-term here at St Neots."

Abbott walked into a near impossible situation when being appointed on February 6 following a drastic budget cut and a mass exodus of key players.

He succeeded Clements in the hotseat and oversaw the final 15 matches of last season, winning two, drawing four and losing nine.

This term he was at the helm for 27 matches - six of which were victories, four of which were drawn while 17 ended in defeat.

Clements will step back into the hotseat on a temporary basis for Saints' home clash against leaders Corby Town on Saturday, 3pm.

He insists preparing for that match is the top priority with any thoughts of appointing a new manager on the backburner until after the weekend.

"First and foremost now it is about preparing a group of players for a very difficult game against the league leaders on Saturday," continued Clements.

"Once we have got that out of the way, myself and the board will sit down and have a look at where we go from here.

"We have plenty of capable people at the club to keep things ticking over in the short term so it's not a case of panicking and rushing into an appointment.

"There is absolutely no timeframe on when a new manager will be in place."

Clements is hopeful that assistant boss Sean Greygoose and coach Matt Joseph will be part of any new managerial team

Clements declined to comment on the withdrawal of the club's reserve team from the Cambridgeshire County League earlier this week as he wasn't actively involved in that process.