Vanarama National League North club Worcester City have announced that long-serving Carl Heeley has stepped down from his position as manager.
Disappointed in the manner of Saturday’s defeat, Heeley met with chairman Anthony Hampson, football secretary/director Joe Murphy and assistant-manager John Snape to explain his decision.
Heeley felt it was time for a change for both himself and the club. In particular, after more than twenty years` involvement in the game, Heeley would like to change the focus in his life from football to spend more time with his young family.
The club fully respect and appreciate Heeley’s decision and he leaves with the sincere gratitude for the outstanding commitment he, and his family, have dedicated to the club over a long period of time.
A true City legend, ‘King Carl` has amassed almost 1,000 matches with City since first joining as a wholehearted player back in 1994.
He went on to become assistant-manager, before taking over the role of manager in January 2010, beginning with a 3-1 win over Weymouth at St George’s Lane.
Fittingly for a man who was City’s captain and played over 500 games for the club, Heeley was manager for the last ever fixture at St George’s Lane in April 2013 versus Chester in front of more than 4,000 fans.
Despite his managerial tenure coinciding with continual difficult circumstances behind the scenes, with the club becoming homeless with an uncertain future, and having limited playing budgets in comparison to most other clubs in the division, Heeley continued to defy the odds to keep City at National League North level, whilst guiding the club to some of the most memorable moments in its long history.
In November 2014, Heeley put City in the national spotlight, with the amazing day at The Ricoh Arena that will live long in the memory of all City supporters.
Goals from Sean Geddes and a penalty save by Nathan Vaughan secured a shock 2-1 win away at Coventry City in the First Round of the FA Cup, with City outplaying their more illustrious opponents backed by over 3,200 travelling supporters.
The reward was a Second Round trip to another League One club, Scunthorpe United. Again, City more than matched their higher status opponents and secured a 1-1 draw at Glanford Park. The replay back at Aggborough was televised live on BT Sport and ended 1-1 after extra-time. Agonisingly for City it took an FA Cup record-breaking penalty shoot-out for Scunthorpe to eventually go through 14-13.
Not content with the previous season’s exploits, victory away at National League side Gateshead saw City back in the FA Cup First Round proper again in November 2015. The City faithful travelled in huge numbers to League One giants Sheffield United, and although the home side were victorious, the two successive cup runs were a financial saving grace for the club.
Heeley always wears his heart on his sleeve, and his honesty in deciding it was time to step down is reflective of the man he is. The club have thanked him for all his hard work and have wished him all the best for the future and the Heeley family will of course always be made welcome at the City.
Clearly the club must now consider its options, but John Snape will aid the club in the short-term, assisted by club captain Danny Jackman whilst a replacement is sought.