Darnton returns to Bash as co-manager

First published in Sport

NEW chairman Angela Speechley-Price will need no introduction to Bashley's new boss after appointing her husband as joint-manager.

Graham Speechley-Price takes the hot seat alongside Andy Darnton, who returns to the club he successfully sued for wrongful dismissal and loss of earnings eight years ago, writes Andy Mitchell.

Darnton, assistant manager at Verwood Town until March, won a court judgment which saw Bash ordered to cough up the full amount under the terms of his season-long playing contract after he was dismissed as player-coach in October 2005.

The cash-strapped New Forest outfit, who were relegated to Southern League South & West after finishing rock-bottom of the Premier Division last season, also announced that they would kick-off the forthcoming campaign without a playing budget and have invited players to trial for the first team.

Mr Speechley-Price, a former assistant and reserve team boss at Lymington Town, had a five-week stint as vice-chairman of AFC Totton last season where he worked alongside his wife and Bashley's new interim committee member Nick Ferguson.

The trio had initially formed a three-strong consortium interested in taking over Bash in March but the deal stalled after unnamed club members expressed an interest in taking the club forward.

But with the clock ticking on Bashley's future, departing chair Mike Cranidge handed the reins to Mrs Speechley-Price, Ferguson and club secretary Tim Allan on an interim basis with no publicised role for Mr Speechley-Price - until now.

On the appointment, Bashley's chair said: "We were looking at managers and with Graham having managed teams before we decided he had the knowledge and skills.

"I can't honestly say it was a part of the plan but from experience, there are a lot of good young players out there that need a platform to get into semi-professional football and we aim to provide that platform.

"I don't remember who suggested it, the decision just developed from our conversations - it was quite possibly me who said, 'why don't you do this?'

"Rather than get a manager who wanted to pay a fortune, we decided to find somebody who was on the same wavelength as him (Speechley-Price) when it came to how we wanted football to be played.

"We have been involved in football one way or another for the past 14 years. He knows I am capable of running a business and it being a football club doesn't make much difference.

"It won't be strange at all. He's self-employed and I help him to run his business and I think we complement each other. We work as a good team."

Bash completely axed their playing budget at the end of February and Mrs Speechley-Price added that the club was not yet in a position to change that stance.

"At present, we don't have a budget, but that's not to say that won't change in the near future," she said. "Until we know where we are financially, we have no intention of offering things that we can't sustain.

"Clubs needs to try and run independently and too many get into debt by throwing money at players. It will probably be reassessed come October and if there is a budget then the players will be offered payment."

 

A statement issued on behalf of Mr Speechley-Price read: "At the moment there is nothing to say but I'm looking forward to working with Andy and the large committee at Bashley of which Angela is one."

Players interested in trialling with Bashley should email: playertrialsbashley@outlook.com

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