Athlone Town Chairman Tony Knight has announced through the club website that manager Brendan Place will be leaving the club at the end of this season.
“It is with regret that Athlone Town FC must announce that it has been agreed that current first-team manager Brendan Place will be stepping down at the end of the 2010 season.”
“The club owes Brendan a debt of gratitude for taking over as manager at the start of the 2009 season given the difficult circumstances the club found itself in. Brendan and his staff performed a minor miracle to get a competitive team on the pitch for the first game against Mervue Utd and he proved during the 2009 season to be a diligent, hard- working and dedicated manager.”
“Having reviewed the past two years, the club felt it was not in a position to offer the post of first-team manager to Brendan Place for the 2010/2011 season.”
It’s something of a curiosity that, in an environment as unstable as the Airtricty League, Brendan Place should be only the second First Division manager to step down from his position this year.
Back in May Dermot Keely resigned his post as manager of Shelbourne following a home defeat by Wexford Youths but, apart from that, the various First Division management teams have stayed in place with little or no signs of discontent.
Place took over at Athlone under difficult circumstances at the beginning of the 2009 season. As with most regional clubs there was little or no money at hand with which to strengthen the squad and matters have not improved much since then.
It was hardly surprising then that Athlone failed to set the First Division alight in Place’s first year, finishing 10th in the table with just six wins from thirty three league games. Through the close season Place brought several new players to the club including goalkeeper Chris Bennion who joined from Dundalk, defender Brian McCarthy, and midfielder Stephen Caffrey, who had won two league titles with Bohemians.
As 2010 progressed Athlone developed a reputation for defensive solidity but never succeeded in complimenting this aspect of their play with the kind of goal-scoring threat that might have facilitated a climb up the league table.
Place has agreed to stay at the helm until the end of the season which indicates that the parting of the ways is both amicable and mutual. Athlone Town currently lie in 10th position in the table with five wins and thirteen draws from the thirty league games played so far.
“I would like to thank the club for giving me the opportunity to manage the club over the last two seasons. I enjoyed every minute of it and feel I have gained invaluable experience going forward. My time spent at the club and the experiences gained, along with my participation in the UEFA Pro License Management Course has made me a far better manager and coach now that when I first took over. I look forward to my next opportunity in the future”, Brendan Place said.
Simon O'Gorman began reporting for Extratime in 2010. He remembers Milltown and Flower Lodge and, back in the mists of time, saw Diego Maradona play at Lansdowne Road. He now lives in Co Kildare and reports on Shamrock Rovers among others. Simon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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