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Young Boss is Sacked by Barum

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Tom Bulley does not feel he was given a fair chance to prove himself at Toolstation Western League First Division club Barnstaple Town.

Bulley said he was “gutted” to have been sacked as manager.

He received a letter from club chairman Warren Crossley stating he had been relieved of his duties.

Bulley, one of the youngest managers in the non-League Pyramid at just 23, took over as manager in December 2012 when Barnstaple were bottom of the Western League Premier Division.

After seeing them relegated in April, he was hoping to build a team to return to the Premier Division this year.

Bulley said: “A lot of people are in shock and are surprised by what has happened.

“I’ll always be proud that I have been manager of my home-town club.

“Barnstaple Town will always be a part of me. One day I’d like to think I could return and finish the work I’ve started.

“I have had a number of messages of support from the players, supporters and other people within the club but where the support really mattered, I didn’t really seem to get it.

“I’m really gutted. I don’t think I have had a fair chance. I’ve put everything into the club. It means a lot to me.”

Barnstaple began this season with a nine-match unbeaten run but have slipped to seventh in the table after six defeats in eight games.

“I worked so hard to put that team together,” said Bulley. “I was only just getting started. People forget the unbeaten run we had at the start. I think it would have been a success in time.

“It’s not a case that we have been playing badly. We have been playing some excellent stuff but the results haven’t been with us.

“I’m disappointed with the way it has been handled. I received a letter in the post. I think that says a lot when you’re not going to be told face to face.”

Barnstaple were adrift at the bottom of the Premier Division when Bulley took over and they won only one game for the rest of the season as he worked hard to keep the team going in difficult circumstances.

“I came to the Bishop Sutton game and I think they lost 8-0 and I thought ‘I have got my work cut out here’ but I couldn’t wait to get started,” he said.

“If I was good enough back then, I don’t know why I’m not good enough now.”

With Barnstaple expected to name a more experienced manager as his replacement, Bulley dismissed suggestions that he was too young for the job.

“At my age, I’m always going to be learning,” he said.

“People may say I’m inexperienced. I don’t think that’s the case with my coaching qualifications and who I have worked with. It was only in the New Year I spent a week with Rene Meulensteen, who has now got the Fulham job.

“Would I have done things differently? Probably not. I’m passionate. What you see is what you get. I’m one for wearing my heart on my sleeve.

“The older I get, I’ll get a wiser head.”

Crossley has previously suggested Barnstaple have the potential to reach the Skrill South but Bully thinks the Southern League is a more realistic target.

“People can say Barnstaple should be playing Conference football, which would be great,” he said. “I’m all for being realistic.

“I think a few people are in cuckoo land and dreaming right now.

“I always wanted to be the first person to take Barnstaple to the Southern League. Tiverton Town’s league would be realistic for me in the next five years.

“I wish the players and supporters all the best. Whoever takes over, they are going to be taking on board a great bunch of lads. Hopefully they can all be kept together and they push on in the right direction.”

Bulley is keen to get back into football in another coaching role.

“I’m going to look to push on and progress now and wait for another opportunity,” he said.

“It’s been a great experience. I have met some great people along the way. Football is my life and that will always be the case.”

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