‘Differences of opinion’ see MacFarland quit Eastwood

Paul MacFarland resigned as Eastwood CFC boss on Monday.
Paul MacFarland resigned as Eastwood CFC boss on Monday.

Paul MacFarland says differences of opinion over the future direction of Eastwood Community FC were among the main reasons for him stepping down from his role as the club’s manager this week.

MacFarland resigned on Monday, along with his assistant Darren Price, with ‘Wood currently sitting in third place in the Central Midlands League South.

The club’s decision not to apply for promotion from the division this season was cited as one of the key reasons for MacFarland leaving, with other factors also playing a part.

He said: “There is a lot happening at the club as it continues to grow and I understand that there are a lot of decisions that have to be made, particularly at a business level, to ensure its long term future.

“But I was disappointed we wouldn’t be applying to go up because the impression I had been given beforehand was that we would be doing so and the players believed that too.

“It left me feeling there was little left to drive me on and to motivate the players with.”

A new 3G surface is set to be installed at Coronation Park following a £750k grant from the Football Foundation, with the plan being to use it to its full potential by hosting matches and training sessions several times a day, seven days a week.

MacFarland added: “Situations surrounding the amount of training time the first team would get on the pitch and also how it would be used on first team matchdays were also a factor in me leaving.

“I sincerely hope everything works out for the club as it will be a great asset to the community. Unfortunately I don’t feel I can progress the first team as much as I’d like in the circumstances.”

Eastwood CFC director of football Jamie Bennett says the long-term future of the club as a whole is of paramount importance and decisions have had to be taken with that in mind.

He said: “When we formed the club last year we promised we would build a sustainable community club, with teams from under-8s to veterans.

“The first team is very important but it’s not the only cog in the system and we have to be careful we don’t run before we can walk in terms of how quickly we try and progress up the levels. People only have to look at what happened with Eastwood Town FC to see how dangerous that can be.

“So while we’re ambitious and have put an awful lot of time, effort and money into building this club as well as working very hard to secure the grant for the new pitch, we have to do things in a correct and sustainable way.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride since the club was formed and hopefully before too long we’ll be in a position to progress higher, but for now the priority has to be continuing to build what will be a fantastic community club in a way that means it will serve this town for a very long time.

“I won’t hear a bad word said about Mac and he and his family are welcome back to the club at any time. He’s done a fantastic job here and ultimately a difference of opinion has meant he felt the need to stand down.”

Work is expected to begin on the new 3G surface shortly, with Bennett hopeful that the final three home games of the season can be played on it in May.