Ex-Bamber Bridge boss Neil gutted by departure

Neil Crowe
Neil Crowe

Neil Crowe revealed he was ‘gutted’ to relinquish his role as Bamber Bridge’s first-team manager.

The Irongate stalwart brought his five-year managerial reign to an end when he resigned on the eve of the club’s NPL First Division North fixture away to Colwyn Bay at the weekend.

Although the team had been struggling in recent weeks after losing eight of their previous nine games, Crowe insisted that had nothing to do with his decision.

The former Brig and Lostock St Gerards midfielder said certain events behind the scenes had left him feeling betrayed and ultimately caused his position as manager to become untenable.

Crowe did not want to divulge too much detail about the events surrounding his departure, but said: “The last thing I wanted to do was resign.

“But it was just after the Ossett game about five or six weeks ago, things went on behind the scenes which were, shall we say, unexpected.

“After that it sort of stuck in my mind and I just felt I could not carry on.

“I’d like to place on record, it was nothing to do with the chairman Frank Doyle – I’d like to thank Frank.

“He has supported me 100% and even said I could take a break away from it all if I wanted, but I just felt as manager I could not go away for a month and come back.

“It was certain other people, but I am not going to start naming names.

“I am gutted and the thing is I haven’t had chance to thanks the supporters, who have supported me and the team home and away for the past five years.

“I have had lots of messages from supporters and other managers – people like Jonno (Anthony Johnson) from Salford City, which is nice.”

Crowe became part of Brig’s backroom team in 2004 when he took charge of the club’s reserve team.

Two years later, he became Phil Entwistle’s assistant and continued in that role when Tony Greenwood was appointed boss in 2009.

Handed the top job in 2011, Crowe has guided the club through some very rocky times off the pitch.

And on the field of play, Brig came within a whisker of promotion twice but unfortunately were beaten in the play-off final, in 2014 and 2015, to Ramsbottom and Darlington respectively.

“Seven games into my first season, our budget was cut to nothing – the club was 48 hours from going out of business,” Crowe said.

“We picked the club up off the floor and I’m quite proud of what we have done.

“We have had some massive games, like the one against Chorley in the FA Cup.

“I think getting to the play-off final twice has to be the highlight.

“When we played Darlington in 2015, it was like David against Goliath when you consider the size of the two clubs.

“I have had the chance to work with some great players – obviously the three ex-North End lads Paul McKenna, Brett Ormerod and Jon Macken – but also some really top non-league footballers.”

Crowe accepted results of late have not been good enough, but he is confident the team will turn things around under his former assistant Neil Reynolds, who has taken control.

“I wish the squad and the staff all the best. I am 100% sure they will turn it around,” he said. “They got a great 1-1 draw at Colwyn Bay on Saturday.”

Crowe, who is set to recharge his batteries before deciding on his next step in football, paid tribute to his wife Hayley for all of her support over the years and said he was looking forward to spending some time with his family over Christmas.

Reynolds will be looking for his first win tonight at home to Marine tonight in the League Cup. On Saturday, they host Hyde United.