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Bartlett Ends Long Spell As Wealdstone Manager

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Following very amicable discussions with the chairman of Wealdstone FC, Peter Marsden, and members of the Board of Directors, Gordon Bartlett has agreed to take on a new role at the Vanarama National League South club.

This newly created role will be broad ranging and will support the rapidly growing need for youth development, football in the community and other key football development areas to be fully defined and will tap into Bartlett’s vast experience, knowledge, and contacts within the game.

This important new role will enable him to focus his time and efforts away from first team activities and further announcements will be made in this regard in due course.

Marsden said: “On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Gordon Bartlett for his 22 years at the helm of Wealdstone Football Club in which he has guided the club from the Third division of the Isthmian League to play-off spot contenders in National League South. Often working in trying conditions which would have confounded lesser managers Gordon has been pivotal in the club re-establishing itself as a force in the non-League game. He is quite simply a Wealdstone Legend.

“Having worked closely with Gordon for this last 12 months I have come to regard him as a good friend and I have seen at first hand his encyclopaedic knowledge, breadth of contacts and above all else his love of the game. In many ways, what Gordon does not know about football is not worth knowing.

“I am pretty confident that as the season develops (and as some of our players return from injury) under Gordon our form would have picked him quite nicely but such is the level of expectation at Wealdstone (as manifest in our average attendances now approaching the 1,000-mark including over 500 season ticket holders) that we need to be either in or close to the leading pack from the very start if we are to fulfil our destiny.

“Results drive almost everything that happens at a football club – the way we feel about ourselves and the way we are perceived by others. It drives our income streams and our ability to attract fresh investment.

“Gordon and I have talked several times about `when the time was right’ his making the next stage of his Wealdstone journey. This is a multi-faceted role which includes looking for and developing young footballing talent, helping the club raise its profile locally and nationally and being an ambassador for the club. As the club continues to grow so the breadth of this role will grow too.

“While the new manager of Wealdstone FC will be very much his own man with his own ideas he will know that in Gordon he has a trusted ally and a wealth of experience he can turn to. So, it is not goodbye but ‘rock on’ Gordon.”

Bartlett said: “This is undoubtedly a very tough decision. The dynamics of this football club have changed dramatically since Peter’s arrival. We are in an ambitious era with the club with a significant financial increase and we have simply failed to meet expectations on the field. Following last weekend, Peter and I have sat down and agreed it isn’t working, so it’s time for a change and unfortunately the buck stops with me. Despite my huge disappointment to step aside after 22 years, I genuinely believe that the club will benefit from a new approach and a fresh start is what it craves.

“I have become increasingly frustrated and I can honestly say I have not been managing with a smile on my face recently. In the past, we have overcome some very difficult times and remained upbeat and with the help of many others, always managed to steer the ship to calmer waters. I am a positive person by nature and last season`s so called ‘crisis’ proved a point, when despite the doom and gloom merchants, we finished the season with one defeat in our last twenty games. This pre-season had been encouraging and the majority of performances have seen us better than the opposition, but it’s a results business and they haven’t been good enough. Sometimes you need to be a lucky manager and that certainly cannot be said for the numerous things that have occurred this season, so when you add everything up, the time is right!

“Looking back, I have a huge amount of pride on the success and progress we have made since my arrival in 1995. I move on with some brilliant memories and the knowledge the club is in a far better place than when I took over. This is a unique football club which has been a privilege to manage over the years and I must acknowledge the fans for their hard graft, passion and undying support in throughout my time. My ambition was to take the club back to the top of non-league football and although we may have finished one short of the objective, I can’t really say I haven’t had a fair crack at it. Impossible to mention you all by name but I my thanks go to everyone behind the scenes, the board for their loyalty, but, in particular, I must express my enormous gratitude to all the management, coaches and players who have shared and contributed to making this such an incredible and enjoyable roller coaster of a journey.

“My immediate problem is that I am addicted to football, so this weekend will certainly feel strange, as for the first time in 33 years, I will not be managing. However, after taking a little break to reflect, I can look forward to Peter’s offer of starting a new challenge in trying to help the club continue their pursuit of National League football.

“Finally, I would like to wish my successor the very best of luck and I will do anything in my power to help him bring the success this club desires and I hope this includes many of the current personnel. In the Chairman’s words, I hope he has some fun”.

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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