Sacking of boss in club’s best interests

Former Lancaster City manager Tony Hesketh.
Former Lancaster City manager Tony Hesketh.

Lancaster City chairman Mick Hoyle insists the sacking of manager Tony Hesketh was done in the best interests of the club.

Hoyle, also currently the club’s caretaker manager, has been the subject of a backlash from fans on internet forums and social media sites after the decision to remove the popular manager last Thursday, with the Dolly Blues board citing a difference in opinion between Hesketh and the club over the direction of the team.

Not wanting to elaborate on the club’s original statement, he said: “What the board of directors have done is in our opinion in the best interests of Lancaster City Football Club.

“The position has been advertised and we will continue along with the current regime until we have made our decision.

“We’ve already had a few applications in by email and they will be open for the next three weeks.”

Monday’s statement when the news of Hesketh’s sacking became official, said: “During the course of Tony Hesketh’s enforced absence, our squad structure and playing policy changed in a way that was not only necessary to enable us to start the season but also, the directors believed, more beneficial to the longer term future of Lancaster City FC.

“Unfortunately, this change in approach does not align to Tony’s way of thinking and despite attempts to reconcile the two positions, it has regretfully been decided that Tony will not be returning to the club as manager.

“We are most grateful to Tony for his second spell with us, during which we enjoyed some success, without quite gaining the promotion that a little more luck might have realised.

“We wish Tony all the best for the future and assure him that he will always find a warm welcome whenever he visits Giant Axe.”

Hoyle now has to try and focus on this Saturday’s FA Trophy Preliminary Round tie against Wakefield at Giant Axe.

City will hope they fare better than they did in their previous cup outing, a 4-0 humbling at the hands of Salford City at home last Saturday.

The side will however be bolstered by three new signings.

Brazilian striker Rodrigo Branco has joined on a 90-day loan from Fleetwood Town.

The 21-year-old, who nearly joined Blackburn Rovers two years ago, arrived at Highbury in the summer following a successful trial spell but is in need of first-team football.

He will be joined by Holker Old Boys striker Bradley Hubbold and left winger Matty Dodwell, who has played for Cartmel in the North Lancashire League.

A handful of players could also leave the club before Saturday as well.

Hoyle said: “Branco is on a full-time contract with Fleetwood but needs football and Andy Pilley and Micky Mellon have given us a great deal on him.

“All three of the new signings should feature in some capacity on Saturday.

“We’re trying to put together a side that want to play in a Lancaster City shirt and we’re going to try and start our season again on Saturday if you like.

“We need to start picking up points and getting ourselves up the table.”

*The club’s AGM, for shareholders only, takes place at Squires Snooker Club in Lancaster on Monday, September 17 at 7.30pm.

It will be followed by an open fans’ forum at 8.15pm where Hoyle says he will answer questions from fans.