Badgers in crisis again as Hawkins also quits club

Nick Hawkins reflecting on a bad evening against Loughborough on Tuesday night, his final match in charge. Photo: James Williamson.
Nick Hawkins reflecting on a bad evening against Loughborough on Tuesday night, his final match in charge. Photo: James Williamson.

Eastwood Town are on the hunt for yet another new boss - and could have one in place by the weekend - after the shock resignation of Nick Hawkins from the Coronation Park hotseat.

Until last week, Hawkins was joint-manager with Chris Shaw. But after the latter quit and signed for Heanor Town, Hawkins took sole charge of the team for the defeats to Carlton Town on Saturday and Loughborough Dynamo on Tuesday night.

And having resigned after the 3-1 loss to Dynamo, the 28-year-old cited a lack of trust in those running the club as one of the main reasons for his departure.

He said: “I knew the club’s situation when I came here but was prepared to work with it and things were going well in that we had built a good squad and were getting some good results.

“But I never felt I had the backing of those running things and felt it became very difficult to work with people I didn’t trust.

“I was a bit bewildered when I wasn’t offered the job permanently after Chris left so alarm bells started ringing there. I was also offered the chance to work as a number two to another manager but I didn’t feel comfortable working with someone I didn’t know.

“I feel people wanted me to have the job - fans, players and so on. But I don’t feel everything going on meant the club’s best interests were at heart.”

Eastwood vice-chairman Steve Peat responded by saying he felt Hawkins lacked the necessary maturity to be a success at this stage.

He said: “Nick’s a good guy and I think he’ll go on to be a very good coach, but various things have happened that make me think it’s too early for him now.

“We didn’t offer him the job straight away because he wasn’t appointed by us. Chris Shaw brought him here so he wasn’t our choice.

“When Chris left I invited Nick to carry on alone but to also apply for the job on a permanent basis, something he took a long time to do.

“We were then unable to meet with Nick to interview him for the permanent job late last week.

“He couldn’t meet on Thursday for personal reasons, and then three of us were waiting in a hotel on Friday night to do the interview but Nick initially let us know he was stuck in traffic and then that he was unable to make it.

“The decision to accept Nick’s resignation was also based largely on results - we haven’t won since beating Loughborough in the FA Cup - but there were other factors too.”

Hawkins was also adamant the Badgers’ budget constraints wouldn’t prove to be a problem, claiming players were willing to play for him for nothing.

He added: “If the need had arisen, then for a while some of these lads would have played for little or nothing - they weren’t on much anyway - if it meant we could all work together, such was the spirit and the relationship I have with them. They told me that personally.

“I was told when we went out of the FA Cup that the budget may have to be cut as a result but I felt we could have coped with that without losing any players.

“I’ve told the lads to stay put and represent the club but a lot have said they won’t, and I told Steve Peat that there was a danger they’d have no team by the weekend as so many might leave.

“The fans have been brilliant, so many have sent me messages of support, and there are some really hard-working people at that club which is why it’s such a shame that things are like they are.

“Obviously Chris leaving didn’t help, and the last two games’ performances were hampered by players not being sure what was going on and having been told various things behind my back.”

Peat said that budgetary constraints at Coronation Park should have proved not to be an issue, but claimed that some players weren’t prepared to earn their money.

He said: “They need to train twice a week but some of them said they weren’t being paid enough to do that, which I don’t accept. We have far from the lowest budget in the league and I want value for money as fitness is a massively important thing.

“There were some arguments over players being paid on time but I always waited until Nick had e-mailed me a spreadsheet with exactly who was due what money.

“That was delayed in getting to me on some occasions so payments were then delayed as a result because I wanted to make sure everything tallied.

“But generally I just felt there were times when Nick showed a lack of the maturity that’s needed to do a job like this properly.

“He clearly has a great belief in his own ability and I don’t doubt he’ll do well in the future, but I feel he’s too young to do it at this moment in time. He’ll always be welcome back at Coronation Park.”

With regard to the appointment of a new manager, Peat says he is keen to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said: “We’ve been interviewing for the post and have had some strong applicants.

“Obviously there is a danger quite a few players will be leaving, although I hope to see most of the squad in training on Thursday so we can have a chat.

“I’ve asked captain Carl Slater and coach Ben Marvin to take the team on Saturday should we not have anyone in place, but I hope to make an appointment by Friday at the latest.”

For news on any appointment, keep an eye on www.eastwoodadvertiser.co.uk.