Inspirational Spalding legend Harry Sharman has lifted the lid on the club’s turbulent season which saw him “forced out of the captaincy” and coach Andy McMahon sacked.
Town are without a win in 20 league and cup games this season and the threat of an immediate return to Midlands Two East (North) has been made almost inevitable by Sharman’s departure to National League 3 Midlands outfit South Leicester.
But in an exclusive interview with the Spalding Guardian, Sharman revealed his six-year reign as club captain ended with a case of “jump or be pushed” and the injury he suffered in the Midlands One East season-opening defeat to Belgrave was followed by a 16-week ban for punching an opponent.
Sharman (28) said: “I was very disappointed about the nose break against Belgrave which came after a pre-season game at Peterborough, I was targeted by a player who was jumping on my back.
“In retaliation, I struck him once on the nose and got a 16-week ban which was disappointing.
“But I was also slightly disappointed that the club didn’t back me or support me as much as they could have.
“It got to the stage where the club had a committee meeting and on the agenda was who would take charge as captain for the season.
“It was very disappointing for me to read that and the committee asked Ryan Chappell to take the captaincy.
“Me and Ryan are very close friends on and off the field so, at first, Ryan said no.
“But I felt that I was left with no alternative but to step down in my sixth year as captain, one of the biggest decisions I’ve ever had to take in my life.”
During the interview, Sharman gave his full backing to Chappell, new vice-captain Sam Cooke and new coach Ben Williams after admitting that McMahon’s appointment “just didn’t work out”.
Sharman said: “As a person, Andy was a nice bloke and not in any way at all did I have any problems with him as to what happened with the captaincy.
“But Andy and the club just didn’t work out, probably because he was trying to coach at a level too high for the skill set of the players we had.
“I’ve no hard feelings towards Andy McMahon but before he left, there were about 12 players turning up for training.
“When Ben took over, there were about 25 players at training because Ben has a lot of respect at the club and people give their all for him.”
Sharman took time to look towards the future at Spalding under Williams and Chappell, as well as long-term with the emergence of rising star Corey Lewis (16).
“Corey is a very skilful player who is a credit to his family,” Sharman said.
“He’s an outstanding young rugby player who puts his best into every game and has a strong family around him.
“Right now, I back Ben, Ryan and Sam 100 per cent and even though they were disappointed about me leaving the club, they all gave me their full backing and I know they’ll do Spalding proud.”