15th Jun, 2019

Axed Byfield blames Redditch United's lack of realism

Liam Moakes 22nd Dec, 2017

DARREN Byfield believes whoever replaces him as Redditch United manager will need more backing to fulfil their ambitions.

The former Aston Villa and Walsall player revealed he was axed by chairman Chris Swan as the Reds headed off the pitch following last Saturday’s comeback draw against St Neots.

It ended a 19-month reign at the Reds for the 41-year-old while player-coach Danny Jackman will take charge for the trip to title-chasing Weymouth tomorrow (Saturday).

The club stated the decision had been made because ‘results had fallen below expectations’ but Byfield felt the expectation levels were unrealistic compared to the budget he had to work with.

Compared to the resources of King’s Lynn, Kettering Town, Weymouth and Hereford – who occupy the top four – the Reds are very much poorer relations with half the financial clout of some of their rivals.

Byfield insisted the Reds, nine points off the top five in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier and with a game in hand, were still firmly in the race for promotion.

“I felt we are on the right track and still in contention for the play-offs,” he said.

“We are 12th with a game in hand to go with five points off fifth place and with half a season to play.

“Compared to the budget we’ve had, we’re nowhere near the top clubs.

“You look at teams like Hereford and King’s Lynn and they have got much bigger resources.

“If you’re looking for a new car, and you’ve got the money for a Skoda you can’t expect to come home with a McLaren.

“Whoever comes in needs the backing to challenge with the clubs who are spending the money.

“It’s disappointing to leave. But it’s the chairman’s decision and it’s his club.”

After a frustrating 2016-17 season, Redditch had begun this term impressively with one defeat in eight but they have dropped down the table in recent weeks with one win in ten.

The sequence though has featured five draws including last weekend’s 2-2 draw after they had trailed 2-0 before late goals from Ashley Sammons and Spencer Weir-Daley levelled matters.

“I think Saturday’s result and performance showed the players were fighting for me,” said Byfield.

“That was never in question. All the players have rung me and said they wished I was staying.

“I’ve had plenty of calls from other managers too saying they were shocked by the decision.

“It does hurt but to be honest I fell it’s weight off my shoulders.

“There’s been a few things I’ve had to deal with like sorting out a physio, not being able to train on pitch and I don’t have to worry anymore.”

Byfield, however, insists the experience will only make him more determined to be a successful manager.

He had already had a few offers but will enjoy Christmas before deciding the next stage of his career.

“Has it made me think twice about being a manager? No, definitely not,” he said.

“I want to be a successful manager and there’s not a one per cent doubt in my mind I won’t be.

“I’ll make sure the next club I go to is the right one.

“I’ll be doing the interviewing, asking the chairman about the budget and what they expect to achieve.”

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