Jason Maher quits as Long Melford manager

JASON Maher has quit as manager of Long Melford after “much heartache and soul searching” less than two months after leading the club to the Suffolk Senior Cup final.

Maher, who took over at Stoneylands in December 2010, guided Long Melford to a ninth-place finish in Division One of the Ridgeons League last season as well as the showpiece final at Portman Road, where a last-minute goal saw holders Whitton United win 2-1.

In a statement on the club’s website Maher said: “This has, without doubt, been the most difficult decision that I have ever faced in football and one that resulted in much heartache and soul searching. Having to break the news to Alf (chairman Colin Woodhouse) was the most emotional thing I have ever done in football.

“I genuinely think this is in the best interests of all concerned and one that I hope everyone will understand in time. My time leading this club was a proud period in my life and the Senior Cup final is a night that I will never forget.

“Sometimes as manager I made decisions that not everyone agreed with but I genuinely did what I felt was best for the club. I want to thank everyone connected with the club and wish you all the best for the future as individuals and people. Thanks for everything.”

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Maher said last night that he had a hour-half conversation on Wednesday with his chairman during which he explained his decision.

“He is one of the best people I know in football and he always fully supported me, after appointing me at the age of 29.”

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And Maher expanded on the reasons behind his decision last night when he said: “The club’s off-the-field problems have not been resolved, which meant I would have had virtually no budget for next season. I was prepared to carry on, but there were things happening in the background and I didn’t like the direction we were going in.

“It certainly never crossed my mind that the final at Portman Road would be my last game in charge. I would like to think the team is in better shape than when I took over. If things change and the club is in a better state I would like to go back there one day - it is a club which is very dear to me.”

Maher said he was not leaving to take up another job, although he had received a couple of offers.

“I plan to take some time out to decide what I am going to do.”

A club statement said of Maher’s departure: “It is with much regret that the directors of LMFC announce the resignation of Jason Maher as manager of the club’s first team.

“It is particularly disappointing that Jason has decided to stand down after achieving all his goals for the past season which concluded with the valiant effort at Portman Road in May.”

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