TULIPS: Stanhope ‘wasn’t meeting expectations’ - Toynton

Big call: Spalding chairman Chris Toynton
Big call: Spalding chairman Chris Toynton
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SPALDING United chairman Chris Toynton believes sacked boss Andy Stanhope wasn’t meeting the club’s expectations for the season.

Stanhope was axed on Thursday after the Tulips’ board of directors unanimously decided to relieve him of his duties at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Back in April, Toynton said that he wanted Spalding – relegated from Evo-Stik League First Division South last season – to “return as soon as possible” as his plans for the club “relied on it.” He also said the club would have a “top six” budget.

The Tulips are now ninth in the UCL Premier Division, five points behind sixth-placed St Ives Town having played six games more.

In an official statement from the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, Toynton also cited diminishing attendances as a major factor in the club’s decision.

He said: “Although we fully appreciate all of the work Andy has done in his time at the club, we just had to look at the largely disappointing results and rapidly diminishing attendances for games, to see that our expectations and aims for the season were not being fulfilled and that a change in management might be the way forward”.

Following the dismissal of Stanhope the club has put former assistant Bob Don-Duncan and player/coach Danny Hussey in charge of team affairs. It is the 17th change of manager at the club in almost 12 years.

Stanhope, who replaced Richard Scott last January, told the Lincolnshire Free Press he was shocked by the decision.

The former boss said: “It’s really disappointing, I really thought we had turned the corner in recent weeks.

“I don’t want to say a bad word about the club, but I have asked for the reasons why. The chairman said we’ve let a lot of good players go and not replaced them, but we had to make a few adjustments to the budget.

“Chris doesn’t believe we can finish in the top six of the UCL either, but I genuinely did.

“I have more views on the matter, but I’ll keep them to myself. What I will say is that there’s been a negative stigma about the club for the past few years and I thought we had started to change. When I took over we barely had a player.

“I’m a football man and want to stay involved in the game, but this has taken me by surprise.”

Spalding, who are currently on a four-game unbeaten run and beat Cogenhoe United 3-0 last Saturday, are without a game this weekend.

They next face Peterborough Northern Star on Boxing Day.

See Tuesday’s Lincolnshire Free Press for more on the story.