Bromley FC have announced that manager Neil Smith has been relieved of his duties.
Smith took charge of his last Bromley game on Tuesday night, going down to a 3-1 home defeat to National League leaders Sutton United before departing this morning following discussions with owner and chairman Robin Stanton-Gleaves.
“This has been a difficult decision to make and one that has not been taken lightly”, Stanton-Gleaves said in a Club statement.
“Having continued to review first-team performances and developments over an extended period of time, I now believe a change in leadership is required for us to progress further on our journey.
“Neil has undoubtedly played an integral part in pushing the club forward both on and off the pitch. He has given Academy scholars first-team opportunities and his work within our community on bringing players and supporters closer together has been invaluable. I know supporters will never forget him guiding us to an appearance at Wembley Stadium for the first time since 1949, in an FA Trophy Final.
“He has had my full respect and support during my chairmanship and I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of everyone at Bromley Football Club to place on record our sincere thanks to Neil for all the work he has done during his near decade with the club and wish him all the very best for the future.”
Smith took charge of Bromley in April 2016, following four years as Mark Goldberg’s assistant manager.
Since then, Smith has led his home-town club to finishes of 10th, 9th, and 12th before a curtailed end to the 2019/20 season saw the Ravens finish 13th in the Vanarama National League based on Points Per Game.
Bromley are presently in seventh-place in the table with 12 league wins, eight draws and nine defeats from their 29 games and occupy the final play-off berth going their trip to fifth-placed side Wrexham on Saturday.
The club statement added: “The club’s ultimate ambition remains to reach the Football League and the search for a new first-team manager will begin immediately, with a view to having a new manager in place in a timely manner.
The club will update supporters on an interim replacement in due course, as well as once a permanent appointment has been made.”
The highlight of Smith’s tenure was no doubt the 2018 appearance for Bromley at Wembley in front of 20,000 of their own supporters. He has provided the below statement.
“I’m saddened to be leaving Bromley Football Club. I still believed we could have finished in the playoffs, given we’re now in 7th place, and I am disappointed I couldn’t finish what I felt I had started this season.
It’s been a great and unforgettable 10 years at the Club for me, initially coming in with Mark Goldberg as his assistant and fighting relegation in the Conference South, to then turning things around and reaching the playoffs, followed by winning the League title the following year.
I’m also proud that since I became manager in 2016, we have established ourselves in the National League, competing with some big clubs and often getting the better of them. Those victories over the likes Leyton Orient and Notts County to name but two were certainly amongst the highlights of my time at the Club. Of course though, my proudest moment is leading the Club to the FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium in 2018, and taking 20,000 wonderful supporters to back us on the day, which certainly made it even more memorable. It was an incredible sight to walk out and see them all there.
I was honoured to work alongside Mark Hammond to play a part in creating and growing a fantastic Academy, which went from 30 students to when I first started, to over 250 now. Some of those have come through to the First Team, which is testament to the staff at the Academy.
I’d like to thank every player who’s worked under me here, especially when I took over as manager in difficult times back in 2016. They’ve all supported me, as have the coaches who’ve been and gone.
The Academy staff, from Sue and Keeley, to Tom and the dedicated, talented team of coaches, have all backed me whenever I’ve needed them.
A massive thanks must go to Alan Dunne, Andy Little, Ben May who developed from a player to a coach with us, Roger Johnson as both a player and coach, and Richard Stirling. But my biggest thanks goes to Mark Hammond, who 8 years ago, we took on to help us with the First Team and Academy. Not only has he made the Academy a huge success, but he’s been my right hand man always going above and beyond for me in what was far more than a working relationship.
I’d like to put on record my thanks to Jerry Dolke, who was the chairman when I started, and the late Glyn Beverly who was always a massive support and a father figure to me. When Glyn sadly passed, Jerry became my mentor and more recently my Director of Football. He and his wife Julia have been phenomenal in all my time here.
All the Club off-field staff; Jeff, Matt, David, James, Ronan, Jackie, Scott, Chloe, Salu and Paddy have always been there for me and made sure I had the best support possible. They have all played a huge part in progressing the Club off the field.
Jon Plassard and David Waller have also always been there to support me and I thank them too. I’d like to wish Robin and everyone else at the Club all the very best and thank them for the opportunity I had to manage my home town Club.
My final thanks goes to the supporters. They have been a constant support in all my time here and have really helped spur us onto everything we have achieved together. It’s been a pleasure to be around them for so many years, and will miss them greatly.
I look forward to returning in the future at some point to see everyone again.”