Clarke quits Felixstowe to put family first

ANDY Clarke has not ruled out a return in the future after deciding to stand down as joint manager of Felixstowe & Walton United.

Clarke has quit because of “trying to juggle so many balls” between his job as a full-time fireman, having a young family and building an extension to his home.

The 40-year-old, who took over as joint manager of the Ridgeons League Premier Division side with Kevin Witchalls a year ago, has two daughters – Evie, aged four, and three-year-old Rebecca – with wife Catherine.

Clarke said: “It was getting horrendous towards the end of the season, with so many games in a short space of time. I was trying to juggle so many balls and once we were safe from relegation I found I was not concentrating 100 per cent on the job.

“My children have missed out over the last year, not so much during the winter, but it was more noticeable when the light evenings returned.

“It really hit home when I came home one day and was going straight out and my little one started crying and said ‘you are never here’. I was going to Newmarket for a midweek match and then off to work on a night shift at the fire station.

“So I have decided to stand down rather than half-heartedly attempt to do the job and not be able to give it everything, which would not be fair on Kevin.

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“You don’t get these years back with a young family, and that is what made me stand back and think about my situation.”

Clarke, who is a builder and bricklayer by trade, is currently building an extension which will double the size of the family home in Felixstowe.

The former Seasiders player added: “I have had a taste of managing and thoroughly enjoyed it and it is something I can go back to when the children are older.”

Experienced Felixstowe striker Glenn Snell is taking on the role of coach, after previously coaching at Ryman League Division One North side AFC Sudbury.

Clarke said: “I think Glenn is a really good coach. He stood in and took coaching last season when I could not make it. He is different to me, but I think he will bring a lot to the table.

“I will still go and watch the team play, and if Kevin and Glenn ever need a hand I will be there to help out,” he added.