Kevin O'Donnell: Why I left Felixstowe & Walton, the highlights, his 'love' of the club – and maybe a return one day?
Outgoing Felixstowe & Walton joint manager Kevin O’Donnell admits he ‘loved’ his time at the Goldstar Ground.
O’Donnell, 41, resigned his position on Saturday ahead of his side’s 0-4 defeat to Canvey Island. The players weren’t told until after the game.
But O’Donnell’s resignation had perhaps been coming, with work changes and family commitments to the fore.
He was honest in his assessment of his time at the club and why he decided to leave.
“I love the club and I always have done,” he said.
“My relationship with Tony Barnes (director of football) has always been strong and he is a personal friend.
“It was a huge decision for me after six years there but quite honestly there are other things going on and perhaps I haven’t been fully focussed on the job. Maybe our results have reflected that.
“I just felt the longer it went on, the more detrimental it would be to the club.”
O’Donnell took over at Felixstowe & Walton when attendances were nearer 50 than the current 400 average.
An improving infrastructure off the picture, a new clubhouse, better players and eventually promotion to Step 4 last season means his tenure at the Seasiders will be looked back on with good memories all round.
Watson joined O’Donnell as joint boss last season, having been his assistant previously.
So what have been O’Donnell’s highlights at the club?
“Obviously to get Step 4 football was the goal I was set when I arrived and we have done that, which is fantastic,” he said.
“I think our win against Bishop’s Stortford in the FA Cup two seasons ago was a personal highlight.
“Not only was it against a side from National League South, two steps above us, but we had a big crowd that afternoon and I feel that was the catalyst that has resulted in us getting to where we are now.”
As for O’Donnell and the future?
“I really will be taking time away from the game and have no aspirations to do anything else in football at the moment,” he said.
“I’ve enjoyed Felixstowe so much, I can’t see how I could replicate what has happened over the past six years anywhere else.
“I’ll spend some time with my family who have been so supportive, book a holiday in the football season – for a change!”
“Who knows? If I did get back into the game, maybe it would be at Felixstowe in some other guise.”
Defeat to Canvey Island on Saturday has seen the Seasiders drop to 12th in Bostik North.