Tong's return triggers resignations

GREAT YARMOUTH TOWN FC By Gerry BrownTHE Bloaters were thrown into turmoil this week by the resignations on Monday of manager Kevin Cruickshank and reserve manager Eden Rudling.


THE Bloaters were thrown into turmoil this week by the resignations on Monday of manager Kevin Cruickshank and reserve manager Eden Rudling.

They said their decisions were made after being informed that Paul Tong would return as the first team manager next season along with a restructuring of the management team.

The three managers had a falling-out over the selection of players for a reserve game earlier this year, leading to Tong resigning as joint-manager.

Cruickshank and Rudling felt their positions would be untenable if Tong returned as manager, and after a great deal of heart-searching decided to call it a day.

For Cruickshank, it was a particularly painful decision after 22 years at the club where he started as an A-team player and rose through the ranks eventually to first-team manager when Nick Banham resigned in November 2007.

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It also means the club will lose the services of his wife Sarah who has been a stalwart of the club's hospitality to visiting clubs and in the tea hut providing supporters with refreshments.

Chairman Stephen Brierley said he was very disappointed: “I have nothing but admiration for the way Kevin has stuck with the club through 22 years. I couldn't have done what he's done in that time.

“Paul is obviously the vastly more experienced manager and I was hoping Kevin would stay on as No 2 and continue his development as a Ridgeons-level manager because we have certainly seen him move forward in learning the requisite management skills.”

Now, instead of waiting until the summer, Tong made an immediate return on Tuesday, taking charge of the team at Swaffham where a 4-1 success, coupled with a defeat for FC Clacton, revived the hopes of a promotion place. There are still six teams in with a mathematical chance of talking the third promotion spot.

Tomorrow, the team are at Downham Town and on Monday they go to Godmanchester Rovers.

Yarmouth Reserves, with Trevor Harrison now in sole charge, lost 2-0 at home to Hellesdon on Tuesday.

After being amongst the front-runners for much of the season under Rudling, this was their sixth defeat in the last seven games and they have fallen from second place to fifth, dropping out of the promotion picture in the AC second division.

They have two games remaining, starting tomorrow at home to Beccles Caxton (2.30pm), and ending next week with a visit to Wortwell, the only team they have beaten in the recent dismal run.

The U18's are, as at Tuesday, the only team in the whole of the Ridgeons Youth League with an unbeaten tag.

Following North Walsham's defeat to Lowestoft last week, the Bloaters need two wins from their remaining four games to take the Eastern Division title then enter a play-off situation for the league championship as a whole.

Next Thursday the U18s go to Wroxham for a youth cup match,

the winners of which go into the semi-finals.

One Bloaters' team that has already won a championship is the U9's of Wayne Hunter: they won the title with a 4-0 defeat of Oulton Mariners with a game to spare. Their final league match is away to the same opponents this Sunday.

They are also in two cup finals, their own league Knock-Out Cup when the final will be played at Emerald Park on Sunday, May 3, at 1pm, followed up the next Sunday, May 10, with the Ipswich and Suffolk Open Cup final to be played in Ipswich at the Gainsborough Sports Centre.

A superb debut season has seen them lose just one game.