06:30PM, Wednesday 13 October 2021
Marcus Richardson felt he was working on ‘borrowed time’ after his tenure at Flackwell Heath came to an end and the club announced they had parted company with the football manager on Wednesday morning.
The 44-year-old had been at the helm of the club for four seasons, notably taking them to the top of the Hellenic Premier Division – before the season’s curtailment – and guiding them to the quarter finals of the FA Vase in the 2020/21 campaign.
As part of a major restructure to football clubs of steps 4-6, the Heathens were planted in the Spartan South Midlands Premier at the start of last summer and have since struggled to emulate their achievements over the past few seasons.
Currently sitting in 14th place with three wins, one draw, and five losses, Flackwell Heath’s committee made the decision to relieve Richardson of his duties, a decision he was upset with but admitted to seeing a long way off.
“Being honest, I could see it was on the cards for a while,” Richardson said to the Advertiser this week. “I felt like they wanted to get rid of me last year but because I went on such a magnificent run, I had twisted their arm.
“We were top of the league, we had a great FA Vase run, but after that I just had a feeling I wasn’t wanted.
“Don’t get me wrong, the committee and the chairman have always been respectful to me, and it’s a lovely, lovely club. I just felt like I was on borrowed time which is a real shame to say. I felt like I had to win every game, I felt like I was being micro-managed at times, and it felt like everything I was doing was under scrutiny. You want the best for your club so at the same time, I totally understand why things were done certain ways.
“This year, changing leagues, it just threw everything in the air. I lost players, three or four of my best ones, and everything felt like it was an uphill battle. Players I wanted to sign didn’t really want to go and play in the Spartan League either.
“Whether it was from the Berkshire or Buckinghamshire area, I just got the impression people didn’t really want to go and play in this division and it was making things difficult. I’m upset but you know what, it’s football.
“I’ve been involved in the game for a long time and you get to understand that people come and go.
“Last season, I was starting to build a legacy and I was creating something very special.
“Truthfully, through what I did last year and the amount of money I’ve earnt the club, I thought I would have been given the chance to go again.”
Richardson believes he wasn’t given enough time to lead the Heathens through the Spartan South Midlands Premier division, and that had he been rewarded with some patience from the chairman he could have dragged the side into the top five.
“We’ve gone into a new league and I’ve needed to get familiar with it very quickly,” he said. “I have tried to understand the teams, what the level is, and also make sure I’ve got the players capable of playing in this division.
“I was definitely building something but I just feel like I needed some time. I think if I had got that, Flackwell would be in a very happy place.
“But I’ve gained experience myself and I can guarantee you, whatever chairman takes me on in the near future, they are going to get a more established manager.”
One thing is for certain, Richardson won’t be away from a dugout for too long: “My phone has been non-stop ringing from 8 o’clock.
“That makes me feel warm to know what a good job I have done at Flackwell and that people are respecting me for what I’ve done for the club.
“People see that I haven’t worked with the same finances as other clubs have and that I’ve turned people with less ability into very good players.
“I have been shown nothing but warmth and appreciation from clubs that are now ringing up and asking if I’d like to be involved with them.
“It has put a smile on my face after having to leave my players at Flackwell.”
On Richardson’s departure, Terry Glynn, Flackwell Heath chairman, added: “We want to thank Marcus for all the work he’s done over the last few years, but the club feels it is the right time for a change. We have started the process for a new manager and we should know by the end of the week who is coming in.”
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