Ashton & Backwell United announce departure of Rich

Charlie Rich.

Charlie Rich in action for Clevedon Town, in a career which has seen him play in the Southern and Western League and played for clubs such as Paulton Rovers, Mangotsfield Town, Brislington before ending his playing days with Ashton & Backwell United. - Credit: Archant

Ashton & Backwell United have announced manager Charlie Rich has departed the club. 

Rich was hired as Stuart Jones’ replacement in May but left the club on Thursday after just two months in the role.

There were a number of reasons for his departure, most notably losing nine players from last season’s squad, due to the distance of travelling to games this season.

Last season's Premier Division campaign saw clubs having to travel around 1,300 miles in total, but with new teams moved into the league by an FA restructure, sides will travel double that this term.

Another reason for Rich leaving is the impact Covid has had on The Stags pre-season, where only two games were played out of a programme of seven friendlies.

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Assistant Ricky Earrey has also left the Stags.

“(It’s) extremely disappointing. He (Rich) felt he was doing the right thing and he generally felt he was doing us a favour, rather than start the season and find mentally that he couldn’t cope with what the challenges were,” said chairman Mike Thomas.

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“He enjoys the football, he loves the football club but it’s the circumstance of the overall package and it’s disappointing to say the least.”

Reserve-team coach and vice-president Matt Southern took charge of A&B’s opening match with Keynsham Town, the club’s first ever in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division, which ended in 3-0 defeat, and will do so until the club find a replacement.

Nick Smart and Mike Radnadge acted as Southern’s assistants and all three are set to be in the dugout when they travel to Oxfordshire to take on Ardley United at The Playing Fields in the FA Cup extra preliminary round next Saturday (August 7).

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