Mark Scopes: Stepping down as Woodbridge Town boss was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make

Mark Scopes has left Woodbridge Town

Mark Scopes has left Woodbridge Town - Credit: Archant

Ex-Woodbridge Town boss Mark Scopes has admitted that he had to make the hardest decision he has ever made in football after stepping down at Notcutts Park.

With his side languishing at the foot of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division after picking up just two points from a possible 51, Scopes resigned as first-team manager of the Woodpeckers on Thursday with the highly-regarded coach expressing his ‘disappointment’ and ‘frustration’ at leaving.

“I didn’t want to walk away from a club I have a lot of affection for,” said Scopes.

“It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make in football.

“Marty Thorpe (Scopes’ assistant) and I knew it would be difficult at the start of the season but we had hoped to stabilise and start building again.

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“The 9-1 defeat to Stanway was a big low point and our decision was in the backs of our mind then.

“Something had to change.”

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After dedicating over 10 years of service to the club as a coach and manager of Woodbridge youth and reserve teams, Scopes oversaw and developed a Woodbridge first-team that play attractive, passing football religiously since taking over the helm in 2009.

However, after a summer of uncertainty involving financial difficulties, Scopes was powerless to prevent a virtual overhaul of players.

“I think we had overachieved in previous seasons with our budget if we’re honest,” said Scopes.

“Our budget is half, if not a quarter of some of the other teams in the league.

“This season was just too hard.

“Marty and I tried everything in pulling the season round and getting players back but as I’ve said before it was just one big revolving door.

“It would’ve been too easy to carry on going the way we were going.

“If we’d have stayed on we might have been able to turn it around but that would’ve taken too much time and I think it’s best for me and best for the club that I made this decision.”

And the much-respected coach only had warm words to say about Woodbridge chairman John Beecroft, who paid tribute to Scopes yesterday.

“John and I have a terrific mutual respect for each other,” expressed Scopes.

“A lot of people don’t realise that he’s virtually saved this club from the brink of extinction.

“He’s shown great loyalty and of course I want the club to still do well, I always have and always will.”

Despite admitting that he might have been able to turn things around, Scopes was growing increasingly tired of heavy defeats on the pitch.

“Winning becomes a habit and losing certainly becomes a habit.

“The players know and understand that and everybody was getting frustrated.

“It was getting to the stage where it was changing me as a person.

“I would get annoyed at little things that wouldn’t normally bother me.”

Re-assessing his situation and taking time out from not only a club so close to his heart but from football altogether is now going to be the next challenge for Scopes.

“I just want to take a step-back for the time being,” he said.

“I’m in no hurry to jump straight back in.

“I might do a bit of watching and a bit of coaching but I also want to spend time with my grandchildren.

“It’s going to be weird for me not involved fully in a club as I don’t think I’ve done that since I was about eight-years-old!

“I might love it, or I might hate it and realise Christmas shopping is not for me and want to come back straightaway so we’ll see.

“I’ve been humbled with support after texts from players, ex-players and fellow managers although I’m pretty sure referees will be glad to see the back of me!” joked Scopes.

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