Departing Sidmouth Town boss speaks about the move

Sidmouth Town at home to Honiton Town. Ref shsp 50-17TI 4811. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Town at home to Honiton Town. Ref shsp 50-17TI 4811. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Town boss Josh Stunell has spoken of his feelings now that the news is out that, after four years in charge at Manstone Lane, he is set to depart after the final game of the season, which will either be Thursday night’s Morrison Bell Cup semi-final against Seaton Town at Ottery St Mary (7pm) – or the Morrison Bell final should the Vikings be victorious against Seaton.

Stunell says of the news he is to leave: “It’s absolutely the right time to move on. Since John (assistant boss John Clements) came into the club four years ago things have moved on at great pace and I am leaving feeling that while our work is done, someone with fresh ideas can no doubt carry on the work and take the club even further.”

He continues: “The club now has four senior teams and there’s no doubt that the conveyor belt of young talent that seems to come through on a regular basis will continue. Certainly, in my time at the club, I must say a huge thanks to John Miller for his fabulous work with the younger players. There are some real gems at the club right now and I am sure one or two will go on and grace an even higher level.”

It’s clear that one of the highlights of Stunell’s time in the Manstone Lane hot seat has been the progress of the younger players.

He says: “They have all been a joy to work with and it is so rewarding when you see lads that have come through the junior Vikings ranks eventually turn out in the first team, first as new lads and then very quickly settle in to become regulars.”

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Another achievement of the Stunell time has been the advent of the floodlights that now adorn Manstone Lane. He says: “I am proud of the part I played in the arrival of the lights. That, as a job, was a great club effort and that’s something I have cherished so much in my time, the feeling of ‘being in it together’ and working as one to make visions come to reality.

“There’s no doubting that the club has got some wonderful people involved in it and I am convinced that, with fresh ideas and new vision, they will continue to go from strength to strength.”

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Given that Town had such a terrific end to the current South West Peninsula League Eastern Division season – they were unbeaten in five games – it begs the question ‘Why leave now?’, to which Stunell replies: “The time is certainly right. It became clear to me as the season unfolded that maybe, just maybe, I had gone a little stale and if I was, then perhaps that might rub off onto the players – I don’t think it did for I never saw any issues with players not giving their absolute all. As I have already said, the lads have been great to work with and I shall miss that side of things.”

So what about the future? Stunell says: “It will be nice to be able to take stock of things over the next six to eight weeks and take time to look at what might be around and where, if anywhere, I might end up. I think it is very much one of those ‘never say never’ moments, so I am not going to be one of those departing managers who says that this is my lot. Who knows? The one thing I would say is that it will be very refreshing for me to be able to sit back, take stock, perhaps watch some football, and then wait and see if the phone rings.”

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