Belfast Telegraph

Mid Ulster: Tandragee Rovers look for new boss as Greenaway is out

By Martin Mawhinney

The search is on for the next man to take on the reins at one of Mid Ulster football’s true giants… and the net is being cast far and wide.

Tandragee Rovers, the Intermediate A champions of 2010-11, are in the midst of a recruitment drive following the departure of former boss Ernie Greenaway at the end of last month.

It may seem an unusual time to be searching for a new manager, so soon in the campaign, but, as the club’s secretary Steven Sterritt explained, things weren’t going according to plan.

“It’s hard to say what exactly was going wrong,” he said, “but if you look at the last 12 competitive games we’ve had, we have won five and lost seven games. That’s just not what we’ve been used to here.

“We haven’t started well at all this year. There’s something not clicking on the field, and it’s not for the want of trying. We have all been wracking our heads trying to work out what is wrong.

“It is strange, because Ernie had brought in seven or eight new players, and the only one from last year that needed replaced was our goalkeeper. If anything, we were stronger than last year, and were expecting to do well.”

Two runners-up spots in the past two years, and a Premier Cup last season have raised the bar for Tandragee, and they have even begun to pursue promotion to the Belfast Telegraph Championship as a realistic target.

That will, of course, be a difficult mission with perennial promotion chasers and reigning Intermediate A champions Dollingstown in their way. However, the hope at Madden Road is that if the early league leaders hold on to their crown, they can gain that coveted Championship place next season, paving the way for future Mid Ulster champions to follow in their footsteps.

Sterritt revealed: “We had the IFA down inspecting the ground over the summer, and more or less, the only thing we are missing (to meet Championship eligibility criteria) is a stand.

“We have been given avenues to approach, to get funding to help us with that, and it is something we are actively seeking to do.

“It won’t be this year, we are realistic enough about that, but we are looking to push up soon, and we aren’t too far away. We have an excellent pitch, changing rooms, club house, training pitch… it’s all there.”

Certainly, the chance to manage a club with all the foundations in place for a bright new future in the Championship, and the opportunity to be the manager to lead them will leave Tandragee with no shortage of offers.

However, the Premier Cup holders are not about to rush into any decision, and they will make a careful evaluation of those who apply.

The club’s secretary added: “We are very open-minded. Yes, we would like someone with a good track record, but we wouldn’t rule anyone out who is keen to push us forward.

“There are people we could have contacted, but we just wanted to give as many people the opportunity to apply and to see what was out there.”

He also had the following message for the new manager’s predecessor: “From a club point of view, we would like to thank Ernie for the last six years, including his work with the under-17s and 18s. We would love him back at the club at some stage.”

However, there has been some disagreement as to the nature of Greenaway’s departure from the club.

The outgoing boss told The Park: “I and my coaching staff had a meeting with the chairman and secretary last Monday night (September 23), both of whom gave me their full support, and that included team selection in order to turn results around.

“After a win on Saturday (September 28 — 3-1 against Knockmenagh Swifts), I got a call on the Monday night from the chairman saying after a committee meeting that I had been sacked. I don’t think I was given enough time to blend in new younger players into an ageing squad, so as to continue the transition period which the club needed.

“My ambition was to take the club to the next level. I don’t have anything to prove, as the success the club enjoyed from when I went there speaks for itself.

“I am extremely disappointed in the manner in which this was carried out after six successful years.”

Yet Sterritt has stressed the need to clarify his position on the decision taken to replace Greenaway.

The secretary stated: “I would refute the chairman and I gave Eddie the backing of the club at that meeting. I told him at the time that while supported him, we could not speak on behalf of the committee, which is made up of 12 people.

“It was deemed (by the committee) that Saturday’s performance, let alone the result, was not up to the standard of Tandragee Rovers.”

Anyone interested in the managerial vacancy should contact Steven Sterritt on: 07545493181 or email: sas_20@hotmail.comby 1pm on Friday, October 11, 2013.

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