A club statement read:
“We are very disappointed to be informed by Craig Laird that he has resigned as First Team Coach. The Board felt that Craig was the right person to take the club forward on the pitch.
“We have explained to Craig the reasons that have led to us having to reduce our playing budget for the coming season. At the same time, we explained that our current circumstances are looking better regarding developing the club and that we would be in a position to progress to the Conference Premier in the 2015-16 season.
“Despite having spent considerable time explaining the rationale behind the decisions, it is therefore a regret to recieve Craig’s resignation.
“We would like to thank Craig for all the work he has done in producing excellent results on the pitch.”
Laird had resigned once already during the season, quitting back in March over budget disagreements. This time, it looks as though the four year love affair has ended for good.
There has been a fair bit of activity at Weston-Super-Mare already this summer. Here’s a catchup for you.
The club are delighted to announce the signings of Ashley Kington and Chas Hemmings ahead of the 2012/13 season.
Craig Laird and Jon Haile have wasted no time in strengthening their squad ahead of next seasons Blue Square South campaign with a double helping of new signings.
Ashley Kington, who posses great technical skill in the centre of midfield was once on the books of Bristol City and has signed after a successful season at Clevedon Town last term.
Chas Hemmings, a tall powerful striker notched 17 goals for Clevedon Town last year has attracted interest from the Football League but the former Bristol Rover trainee will be donning the Seagulls shirt next season.
Discussing the new signings, Jon Haile said, “These players have a great amount of pedigree and have great futures ahead of them.”
“We have been tracking them for a while now and we are delighted they have signed. Both of these players have the potential to play at a higher level and now they have the opportunity to prove this.”
“More signings are expected as we continue to strengthen for next season.”
The news comes shortly after Brett Trowbridge joined 10 other Seagulls in committing to the club next season as the squad begins to take shape, and Jon Haile confirmed that he believed Marcus Duharty and Matt Villis would also agree terms for another season at The Woodspring Stadium.
Two of Under The League’s official clubs, Weston-Super-Mare and Hampton & Richmond Borough, have announced their first preseason friendlies. Both clubs will face a mixture of non-league clubs and Football League sides, with Weston hosting no fewer than three professional clubs as it stands currently.
The Seagulls, managed by Craig Laird, finished 13th in the 2011/12 Conference South. They will be looking to build on their excellent season, when they were viewed by some as having overachieved. Their preseason fixtures are as follows, home games in bold:
Tuesday, July 17th - Keynsham Town (A) 7.30pm kickoff
Thursday, July 19th – Larkhall Athletic (A) 7.45pm
Saturday, July 21st – Bristol Rovers (H) 7.45pm
Tuesday, July 24th – Shepton Mallet (A) 7.30pm
Wednesday, August 1st – Gloucester City (H) 7.45pm
Saturday, August 4th – Newport County (H) 3.00pm
Wednesday, August 8th – Plymouth Argyle (H) 7.45pm
Friday, 10th August – Torquay United (H) 7.45pm
The games taking place at Weston’s Woodspring Stadium will be charged at £8 adults and £5 concessions and under 16’s, so be sure to get down and support them before the new season gets underway.
As for Hampton & Richmond Borough, they were relegated from the Conference South last season, and will take their place in the Isthmian Premier League next season, assuming that no other clubs go under in the next few weeks. Star striker Dave Tarpey, who scored 24 goals last season, has left the club for Farnborough. Their pre-season endeavours see them host League One side Brentford in their first match in their usual friendly at The Beveree Stadium, before taking on a number of non-league clubs. The club are also trying to arrange further friendly matches against Football League sides. Their fixtures are as follows:
Friday, July 13th – Brentford (h)
Tuesday, July 31st – Chertsey(a)
Tuesday, July 31st – Hanworth Villa(a)*
*Chertsey and Hanworth Villa will be mixed 1st team and Reserve sides
Wednesday, August 1st – Bedfont Sports (a)
Saturday, August 4th – Walton & Hersham(a)
Tuesday, August 7th – Walton Casuals(a)
Thursday, August 9th – Maidenhead United(h)**
**Game is subject to confirmation, dependent on the league that HRBFC are in.
Saturday, August 11th – Godalming Town(a)
After another season of punching well above their expected weight, Craig Laird and Jon Haile were pleased to confirm that they have offered the entire squad deals to wear The Seagulls shirt again next term. So far ten of the squad have put pen to paper, of which include Lloyd Irish, Jamie Price, Martin Slocombe, Ben Cleverley, Nabi Diallo, Nat Pepperell, Kane Ingram, Supporters Player of the Year Sahr Kabba and Young Player of the Year, Dayle Grubb.
At a fans’ forum, Craig Laird confirmed that the players yet to sign are all committed to the Weston cause, but are assessing their options regarding their professional working careers and in some cases, their education. Assistant-Manager, Jon Haile said, “It’s great that so many of the current squad have committed, and If the others decide to sign then of course we will be pleased and we can then limit the amount of new players we bring in. However, with regard to new signings we are very close to getting all of our targets. Most have agreed to join us in principle and Craig and I will be meeting them over the next fortnight to show them round the club and agree personal terms.”
Haile also confirmed that there might be places up for grabs for a number of the Under 19s Conference Alliance South Premier winning squad, he said, “Of course we have Jake Mawford, Jack Camm and Robbie Maggs from the U19s waiting to take a step up too.” Plans at the club are well a foot for next seasons campaign and Haile has expressed his excitement for what lies ahead for The Seagulls. He said, “We are planning pre-season now and this time round the training will be by invitation only and will not be an open training environment. We have targeted the players we want to join us and we want to maximise all available playing and training time to work on our team shape and plans for next season. With the benefit of two seasons experience in this league and 5 or 6 new faces which will strengthen the squad I genuinely believe next season will be our best yet.”
Craig Laird insists that his squad will treat their final Blue Square South against Dover Athletic with respect and with a desire to win despite neither side having anything to play for on the last weekend of the league campaign. Both sides were hoping to extend their season by reaching the play-offs but the form of both teams in the second half of the season has ultimately ended any hopes either club had of a play-off birth.
Laird said speaking ahead of the game, “It’s a shame we don’t have anything to play for, either of us. We would have liked to be playing to get in the play-offs or to at least have an impact on the clubs who are trying to make the play-offs. It’s important for us to win, and we’ll treat the game with the respect it deserves. We believe every game is important to go out and win regardless of when it is in the season. We want to win the first game of the season and we want to win the last game of the season. It’s especially important try and get a win and put in the performance for the supporters that will still be paying their money to come and watch the game.”
The last time the two sides met, the game ended with a lot of bad feeling with the Dover management criticising The Seagulls’ tactics on the day, but Laird says that won’t affect the way his team will set up and play the game. “We don’t really care what they think. We don’t owe Dover anything in terms of the way we play our football. At the end of the day, all we care about is doing what is best for Weston-super-Mare Football Club and if that means playing ugly at a club as big as Dover then that’s what we will do. Of course we want to play good football and make friends on our way as we go along, and we do when we can, but against massive clubs like Dover sometimes you have to mix it up a bit.”
With Ben Kirk and Matt Villis out for the game due to injuries picked up at Staines, Laird has been looking at other options to fill the gaps left by them and paid tribute to the fantastic season the Under 19s have had. “We’ve had reports of potential Under 19s that could fill in from Ryan (Northmore) and they are in the frame, but we don’t want to take crucial players away from Ryan’s team so close to picking up their league title. Unfortunately, we haven’t had too much cover for a lot of positions this season. It costs a lot of money to carry experienced players to sit on the bench and to keep them happy at the same time.” Finally Laird paid tribute to the fans that have stuck behind him and the team despite the dip in form towards the end of this campaign.“I’d like to give many thanks to those that have and do support me and the team, it’s always appreciated.”
The game against Dover Athletic kicks off at 3pm on Saturday 28th April at the Woodspring Stadium. It’s your last chance to see The Seagulls at home so come on down and get behind the lads and show them your appreciation of their efforts of this season.
Many thanks to Richard Clark for this interview.
Dave Tarpey’s 23rd goal of the season enabled the Beavers to take an unexpected but ultimately deserved victory over a Dover line up that looked jaded, and not in the kind of form you’d expect of a playoff chasing team, writes Rob Overfield. Read the rest of this entry
Hampton & Richmond Borough get a vital three points in their fight against relegation in Conference South. Read the rest of this entry
Weston-Super-Mare manager Craig Laird believes the playoffs are a real possibility after seeing his side thrash Farnborough. Read the rest of this entry