Eaton ‘embarrassed’ by Leighton Town sacking

Mark Eaton NNL-150830-114543009
Mark Eaton NNL-150830-114543009

Mark Eaton has branded his sacking by Leighton Town ‘ridiculous’ and ‘embarrassing’ after he was dismissed from his role after 12 weeks on Tuesday.

The former Aylesbury FC boss replaced Craig Bicknell at the 11th hour in the summer, but had picked up just two wins this season.

Taking over in July, Eaton had to build a squad after last season’s team left along with Bicknell, as well as finding sponsorship and hastily arranging pre-season friendlies to ensure the team was ready ahead of the new season.

And given just 12 weeks in charge, Eaton said he was more embarrassed than angry at the club’s decision to sack him.

He said: “Early on Tuesday morning I was called by Iain McGregor who, much to my surprise, said the club no longer wished me or my management team to continue at the club.

“The club statement says I was disappointed with the decision - far from it. I am actually embarrassed for them as unfortunately it once again makes them look shambolic to the Leighton public or anyone who knows anything about football.

“Given the state of the club when I joined you would think common sense would prevail in understanding the Leighton job was a complete rebuild not a quick fix. I made that clear when I agreed to help them.

“I was persuaded to take the job by Sean Downey, a friend and previous manager. The club has been a complete failure on and off the field for many years in consistent relegation battles and financial crisis. I joined the club with a view of attempting of stabilising it over the coming seasons. I also, along with the management team ,agreed to do it for free to help the club financially in this transitional time.

“We started two weeks after everyone else had started pre-season training and the club did not have one player left from the previous season so I knew it would be a big challenge to get players in. I found there was a general reluctance for players to go there due to the poor facilities, lack of finance and the continued struggle. However, despite this, myself and my Assistant Manager Derek Brown worked really hard to bring in players just getting a team on the pitch for the start of the season was a success.

“In my opinion the whole culture of the club needs to be changed and although I have great faith in my ability that can’t be achieved in 12 weeks and would probably take at least two seasons so our plan was to consolidate this year and build for next season.

“There is no doubt it has been difficult, we have been let down by some players at times and the results haven’t been as good as we hoped but we had no doubt with the four players we had coming in this week, we would have been OK. We had a run of fixtures which presented a great opportunity to pick up points over the coming weeks.

“Myself and Derek also have plenty of experience and contacts to call on, we were working very hard off the field. The club knew this when hiring us that they had a two people that had a consistent track record of success in non-league football but it would take time.

“There are some good people at the club like Sean Downey, I was told the decision was made by the Executive Committee whoever they are as I have never met them collectively but they obviously have no idea about football at this level. All in all I am not sure what Iain McGregor and his band of helpers behind the club are expecting with the financial restrictions and lack of previous success.

“I guess the small amount of good people in Leighton Buzzard who have any affiliation with the club can draw their own conclusions to the reasons why the club has continually failed.

“For me and Browny, we’re not disappointed as the club’s actions are quite ridiculous so I guess all we can do is wish them well for the future.”