On behalf of South Downs College and in particular the Academy I wish to say how disappointed we all are that Shan has gone as Manager. He was always totally supportive of the Academy and showed he was never afraid to promote young talent into his squads. If one reflects for a moment, the role of honour is long and includes Nathan Ashmore, Craig Robson, Andy Rogers, Alex Baldaccino, Bradey Norton, Lewis Edwards, Ryan Gadd, Harvey Whyte and of course Jack 'Fudge' Farrugia. Even the likes of Steve Ramsay, Bobby Scott and Steve Hutchings all played for the Academy. I am convinced that Steve Johnson will continue this trend, all the time he is at the helm and sincerely hope that any new manager coming in will do the same.
I consider Shaun a personal friend who I have full respect for and wish him all the very best for his future and hope he stays in the game, since he has much to offer it.
Just to clear up a point raised by Simon Lynch earlier, and to ensure supporters are correctly informed, I am now Head of Academy rather than 1st Team Manager as was. Last year the college asked me to take a more directional role in the management and improvement of the whole Academy operation, which runs 5 mens and 1 ladies side. As you know, the Academy 1st team play in 4 competitions and this requires dedicated focus and lots of travelling, which for me meant spending lots of time away from what was happening on the ground. Having firmly established the Academy 1st team it was an appropriate time to hand over 'hands on' responsibility to my 'expert' colleagues Paul Barton and Pete Joddrell who have done an excellent job this season. On top of my teaching responsibilities, I am also now heavily involved in developing and scheduling the new astro turf facility being built at the college.
On a personal note, the move allowed me time this season to watch my lad play for Kingstonian in the Ryman Prem and indirectly to do a quasi 'scouting' job spotting any potential talent coming from that league that the club might be interested in.
However, back to club affairs, can I close by urging all supporters to pull together at this time. I am conviced that a united approach will be a massive boost to pull the side out of the bottom 3 and to play Blue Sq South football next season. Stevie Johnson, Adi and the BOD are good people who work tirelessly for the greater good of the club and I sincerley hope that everyone continues to support their endeavours.
Head of Academy