Istead: Uncertainty is affecting players

Steve Istead has taken temporary charge of the Eastwood team.
Steve Istead has taken temporary charge of the Eastwood team.

MYSTERY continued to surround the future of Eastwood Town this week despite a new owner having taken the helm.

Steve Lynch, who also owns a stake in Southern League side Halesowen Town, told fans on the Badgers’ unofficial internet forum that he had appointed a new manager and that he would hold a forum next week to answer supporters’ queries.

But despite the announcement of former Stafford Rangers manager Chris Brindley as boss and his supposed presence at the match against FC Halifax last Saturday, Brindley then had a change of heart and has instead taken over at Evo-Stik Premier Division side Chasetown, nearer to his West Midlands home.

Forum

Lynch was unavailable for comment before the Advertiser went to press on Thursday, but on Saturday he had commented on the message board: “I plan to do a forum to clear the air as there seems to be lots of rumours about lots of things and the only way forward is to go through the hard facts.

“It seems I have walked into a hornet’s nest of past problems which I am willing to try and put right given the chance.”

Club captain Steve Istead, meanwhile, was asked to take over team affairs for the Halifax match, but has said the uncertainty over the club’s future has affected the squad of players.

“I was asked to take training last Thursday and then be in charge at Halifax, something I was happy to do,” said the 25-year-old.

“But obviously having been told a manager was in place only to then discover he wasn’t, as well as all the other uncertainty around the club, it makes things difficult.”

“It affects different players in different ways. Some just get on with it but others are worried about their futures and that can show on the pitch.”

Istead added that Mr Lynch had told him he would meet the squad at training last night (Thursday), and the skipper is keen for a new coach to be in place as a matter of urgency.

He said: “It’s a bit of a blessing we don’t have a game this weekend as we struggled to get a squad together for Halifax given injuries and suspensions.

“But with two games in four days coming up we need a manager in as soon as possible so we can prepare properly for them.

“In the meantime, I have lots of contacts who have been helping me out and I’ve got a contingency plan for if I’m still in charge ahead of the next game, because someone has to keep the ship afloat and at the moment that’s down to me.”

With regard to the defeat at Halifax, Istead took heart from some aspects of the performance given the current circumstances, with him even having had to recruit a former team-mate from Newcastle’s academy, Graeme Mathewson, to play for free.

He added: “I had a great response from the lads. We conceded at bad times but once we got used to the system we’d deployed we showed some promise and glimpses of the quality we produced early in the season.”