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Phil Barnes and Dean Elston step down as manager and assistant at United Counties League Premier Division North club Holbeach United

Holbeach United boss Phil Barnes and his assistant Dean Elston are stepping down from the helm of the United Counties League club.

The club stalwarts took charge at Carter's Park in April of last year folllowing the resignation of Danny Hussey.

After last season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were hit by a player exodus in the summer and the Tigers have had a tough start to the campaign.

Phil Barnes. (51930271)
Phil Barnes. (51930271)

They have picked up just two points from their opening eight league games and suffered further setbacks this week with Fraser Bayliss, Stacy Cartwright and Luke Wilson all leaving the club.

Boss Barnes explained: "It's all about how the season has gone so far and what happened in pre-season as well.

"We have been up against it from the off and the last thing that we want to see is Holbeach in a relegation fight.

"With the players that we have lost and the contacts we have, I couldn't see us getting out of it.

For all the hard work that has gone on off the pitch as well, the last thing we want is for the club to be in a relegation battle.

"I think that was probably where we were going to be so we want to give someone plenty of time to turn it around.

"It was a difficult decision because there are a lot of good people at the club. I've had massive support from Dean Elston and I probably wouldn't have gone on for so long if it hadn't been for him.

"He's given everything and the chairman Des Ford has supported us from day one. Neal Collishaw and Ed Barnes from the reserves have done the same and the likes of Alan 'Lefty' Wright just give you everything on match days.

Dean Elston. (51930278)
Dean Elston. (51930278)

"We just want what's best for the club though and hopefully they will get someone in who has got a few more contacts to bring more faces in.

"We were clutching at straws towards the end but, when you lose nine players two or three weeks before the season starts, then you're up against it from the off.

"We've probably had a rough deal in a lot of respects but you can't make excuses and you've just got to get on with it.

"I'm now going to have good rest from football and probably enjoy watching a few games and spent time with the family.

"I've enjoyed all of it but, as the weeks have gone on, myself and Dean are honest people and we can probably see what was going to happen.

"All of the lads, the likes of Nick Jackson and Rick Drury, have been great and stuck with us but, at the end of the day, when a team has given you everything and you're still losing games then you know that something has to change."

Barnes and Elston have agreed to remain in charge until a new manager is appointed and are set to lead the Tigers in Saturday's home match with Eastwood.

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