Former Hadleigh United boss Stuart Crawford admits he should have left club in summer

Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford

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Outgoing Hadleigh United boss Stuart Crawford has admitted he should have left Millfield in the summer.

Crawford called time on his five-year spell at the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division champions at the weekend.

It was a big decision just seven months after lifting the Premier Division trophy. But it was one that was clearly coming.

“I sort of could see the way things were going at Hadleigh in the summer, if I’m being honest,” he said.

“Players had started to leave and more looked like they might go. But quite honestly I stayed because I wanted another crack at the FA Vase and I still thought I had a decent squad.

“In saying that, I’ve lost two-thirds of our title-winning squad from last season for various reasons.

“It took me and my coaches, especially Alan Dilloway, four years to take the club from third bottom of the table to Premier Division champions.

“It’s been quite a journey and I just don’t feel I can start another journey up all over again. I don’t have the drive for it, at Hadleigh anyhow.

“With the club not applying to go up the pyramid, for some players that will have been a factor not to stay.

“As for me, I understand totally why they haven’t applied to do so and I fully appreciate their situation.

“But I suppose that was another reason for me to think of leaving.

“In saying that I have nothing but good things to say about Hadleigh as a football club, the committee and chairman Rolf Beggerow, who gave me my first chance in management. The manager’s job is a great job for someone.”

Crawford was appointed first-team boss of the Millfield club at 29 years of age and had no managerial experience at all.

His time at the club has been hugely successful – culminating with last year’s Eastern Counties League title for the first time in the club’s history.

The FA Vase also proved successful for Crawford and his team, their best run coming two years ago when they reached the last eight – before bowing out to eventual finalists Tunbridge Wells in front of more than 1,000 fans in Kent.

After losing to Wisbech in the FA Vase last year, Hadleigh disappointingly lost 2-0 to Great Yarmouth back in November in this year’s competition.

It was possibly a final straw for Crawford, who has nothing lined up at the moment.

“I’ve got no plans right now,” he added.

“I won’t go chasing clubs, throwing my cv at people. If people want to talk to me, they know where I am. I would love a challenge like the one I had at Hadleigh, but I’m quite open to ideas.”

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