Thetford Town looking for new manager as Danny White steps down
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
After nearly four years in charge of Thetford Town manager Danny White has stepped down from his position.
The decision followed Saturday's 4-1 defeat away to Woodbridge, which leaves Town sitting at the bottom of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.
It has been a difficult start to the campaign for the club, Saturday's defeat being their 11th in succession, a run which has seen Town eliminated in the opening rounds of the FA Cup and FA Vase.
"I am sad to be stepping down but feel the time is right," said White. "It has been tough, the league is much stronger this season, a lot of clubs have strengthened with quality players and we have struggled to get the same team out every week."
Any reasonable judgement will qualify White's time at the club as a success; a seventh placed finish in the 2016-17 season was the club's highest in 27 years, and in each of the two subsequent seasons Town reached a significant cup final - first in the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge and then in the Norfolk Senior Cup.
Club chairman Nigel Armes confirmed that White will manage the side for the final time this Wednesday night, for the League Cup fixture at King's Lynn Reserves and until a permanent manager is appointed the current coaching team of Jay Denniss, Todd Rae and player-coach Matt Morton will take full charge of first team matters. Town's next league game is at home to Whitton United on Saturday.
For Armes the search begins immediately. "We obviously didn't plan to replace Danny but the situation has developed and we need to make the best choice to take the club forward," he said. "We need someone with drive and a plan to turn our season around."
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It was Armes who appointed White in October 2015 and he admitted his sadness in hearing White's decision.
"I have known him since he was eight years old and he is a true friend, so his decision is hard to take, but understandable," he said. "I will always be indebted to him for the time and energy he has put into the club. He leaves with my greatest respect."
White will not be short of opportunities to remain in the local game if he wishes.
"I don't know what I will do next right now," he said. "I will take a little bit of time out to reflect and weigh up options. I'm in no rush."
Town were 3-0 down on Saturday before Max Melanson pulled a goal back from the penalty spot on the hour mark. Woodbridge went on to complete a deserved 4-1 win in the closing stages.
Armes and White share a close bond; the Town chairman coached White throughout his youth, so it made his departure hard to take.
"I have often described him as like a family member. When he was growing up, myself and Danny's dad drove thousands of miles taking my son Henry and Danny to Thetford Panthers and Cambridge Youth games so I do feel personally sad," Armes said. "The mutual respect will be difficult to replace but I fully understand his decision. Danny sets high standards and I appreciate his personal frustrations."
It was Armes who appointed White in 2015 and he was quick to point out the improvements the club has seen during this time.
"The plan was for me to improve the club's facilities and for Danny to improve the playing side, using local players. Our team now, is full of players with links to the Town and others who feel strongly about the club," he said. "The quality of our football is respected, and we have reached two cup final appearances in his three full seasons at the club."
Armes spoke of White's work off the pitch which has benefitted the club.
"Every club we visit Danny is loved and respected. He has been a great ambassador for the club with his conduct and by working hard off the pitch to get local businesses involved and encouraging local people to sponsor players," he said. "I will always be indebted to Danny's energy and time."
Armes will now look to appoint a new manager and feels, despite the hard work and effort the job entails, it is a tempting opportunity.
"It is a large Town and the club has great potential. We have a hard working committee, great facilities and there is a good squad of players to work with," he said. We need someone with drive and a plan to change our fortunes this season. I will do everything I can to help the person achieve this."