IAN Baird yesterday spoke of his “disappointment” at leaving Eastleigh after five years at the Silverlake Stadium helm.

But the ex-Saint had only good things to say about club owner Stewart Donald who had the dubious task of delivering the bad news in the wake of Saturday’s 4-0 disaster at Billericay – the Spitfires’ third straight Blue Square Bet South defeat.

It was almost a year ago that Donald and his Bridle Insurance colleague Neil Fox arrived at Eastleigh with grand plans to take the Stoneham Lane club into the Football League.

Baird was provided with funds to assemble a quality squad that could push for promotion.

But, with less than a month of the new campaign gone, the Spitfires – installed as 4-1 pre-season title favourites – are labouring in 16th having lost four of their opening seven games.

Given time, Baird is confident he could have turned it around, but said. “That’s football for you.

“I’m disappointed to get the bullet after seven games, but these things happen.

“The team was taking a bit of time to gel, but I genuinely felt that, barring 45 minutes at Boreham Wood and Saturday’s very poor performance at Billericay, the lads hadn’t done badly and had been unlucky.

“But with the money we’d spent and the players we’d brought in we were always going to be under the spotlight.

“I’ve got the utmost respect for Stewart Donald, he’s been an absolute gentleman and unbelievably supportive.

“He’s been spot on with me, as has Neil Fox, and I’ve got no issues with them whatsoever.

“As I said to Stewart, I don’t agree with the decision but I respect it.”