Heybridge Swifts chairman Gary White has released the following statement on Karl Duguid’s decision to stand down as first team manager at Heybridge Swifts.
I can confirm today that Karl has decided to stand down after two seasons with the club with immediate effect.
This is something he has thought long and hard about in recent weeks. Having the chance to spend a good deal more time with his wife and young family, it has made him realise what he has so often missed after being so committed to football over the past 27 years since joining Colchester United as an apprentice.
I would like to congratulate and thank Karl for his record at the club since taking over from his former managerial partner Julian dicks in July last year. They led the club to a famous Isthmian North play-off win, only to lose out on a promotion back to the Premier division on an average points-per-game basis.
The current season ended prematurely, of course, and at the time Karl’s side were again in the play-off places. Now we will never know how that may have worked out.
Karl built a talented and unified squad on and off the pitch and it is hoped that with the structure now built at the club, with the manager as part of that structure, a replacement can be found in the near future.
Given we have an unspecified lay-off period for an indeterminate amount of time, we now have time to pick a replacement and make a decision that is right for the club’s long-term strategy.
I fully understand Karl’s decision and – although we would prefer not to have to find a replacement – I fully understands the reasons for his decision.
Being a manager at non league is a big time and emotional commitment and hard to do if you have a young family.
I know of that level of commitment as chairman, which is less in terms of hours, but certainly not something I could have done long term when my children were the ages Karl’s are now.
Football management is a 24/7 commitment at any level and the recent crisis has put football into context really, when it is compared to losing loved ones prematurely to the pandemic.
Karl has created an excellent coaching team in people like ex=Spurs man Stuart Nethercott, Ryan Handley and James Good, as well of course as Bevo and Paully who know the game inside out.
Karl’s successor will inherit a strong structure and our plan is for that to continue so that any new manager coming in will have to accommodate our structure, rather than try to create an entirely new one himself.
We believe that continuity and having a good long-term plan are key for our club and the plans for a 3G stadium pitch to accommodate the first team, Under-23s, Under-19s and all the junior sides is key to having a long-term unified club with a clear playing style and philosophy.
As chairman I have worked with three different managers at Swifts and all have been successful and all very different with their own style.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all three, and all have brought their own leadership styles, buying in to the club’s culture of playing good quality possession-based football.
Karl will be welcome back at the club any time and he goes with our best wishes and thanks for another memorable season.
We hope to retain as many of the first-team players for next season as possible, and look to make an appointment a successor as soon as is practical in order to maintain that continuity.
I would just like to send my best wishes to everyone associated with our club and hope you and your families are all keeping well at this difficult time. I look forward to see everyone back at the Swifts hopefully in the not too distant future.
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Main Photo Credit: Alan Edmonds