Garry Campbell has resigned as manager of local Amateur League club 18th Newtownabbey Old Boys.
Campbell spent just under two years at the club, having come along in January 2012 to assist Paul Cargill after the club he managed, Newtownabbey FC had folded. He became manager in the summer of that year.
18th came good in the second half of last season where they were only beaten once in the league post-Christmas.
“Maybe expectations were too high after the run we had last season, but starting with two league defeats and a few bad Cup defeats, we never really got up and running. We weren’t helped with injuries to the likes of David Shaw, Terry Lynas, Neil Campbell, and Michael Jamison, out for the season.
Campbell claimed some second-team players “refused” to play for the firsts and, for him, it was the “final nail in the coffin”.
He added: “Attendance at training wasn’t good. To be fair, every one of the first-team players trained at least one night, 60 per cent of them doing two nights, but there wasn’t a single second-team player training in the last six weeks. They just ended up running around, as there weren’t enough players at training to do a decent session.
“I had brought something like 16 to 18 players to the club. Some stayed, some didn’t enjoy it, and obviously some are likely to leave if they’re not getting first-team football. I’ve asked the ones that are still there, all to stay, I don’t want to see 18th going back to where they were, though maybe on reflection things had already gone too far by the time I took over.”
Campbell, having cut his managerial teeth as an 18-year-old at Carnmoney Colts, had two spells as manager of Mossley, taking over after the brief reign of Les Long and then after John McMinn moved on. Garry’s backroom staff of assistant Bobby Steele and coach Glen McCrum, also both ex-Mossley men, have also left the club.
He concluded: “I’ve been managing now for 24 years, it’s been a long time. I’ll take a few weeks out and go and watch matches on a Saturday. I’ll take a break but I don’t want to be out of it forever. I haven’t left 18th to go somewhere else, I’ve nothing lined up but hopefully I will get something together again with Bobby and Glen. If I can’t get anything, I might go back and start with the kids again – but you never know what’s round the corner!”