Ray: “My position was untenable”

Now departed Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray speaks to ESPN after the FA Cup second round replay victory over Harrogate Town last season. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
Now departed Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray speaks to ESPN after the FA Cup second round replay victory over Harrogate Town last season. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
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Sean Ray claimed his position had become untenable after resigning as player-manager of Hastings United.

The 32-year-old called time on 21 months in The Pilot Field hot seat on Wednesday - just three days before the start of the Ryman Football League Division One South season.

Assistant manager Mark Stapley and coach Terry White will take charge of the side for the opening day trip to Chipstead tomorrow (Saturday).

Speaking on Wednesday evening, Ray said: “There’s been a few issues that have arisen over the last week or so. I was at work this morning and got a phone call from the chairman (Dave Walters). We had a chat and afterwards it became clear my position was untenable. I offered my resignation and it was accepted.

“It’s something I didn’t want to happen and it’s something I didn’t expect to happen. I thought my relationship with the chairman was okay. I’m not going to say anything bad about him or the club.

“There’s nobody else that club means more to than me. It was a wrench to leave first time around when I went to Ashford and it’s even more so now. I’ve always given my all for the club and I’m sad to be leaving.”

It seems unlikely that Ray, who has made more than 300 United appearances, will stay at The Pilot Field as a player under whoever the new manager may be.

“It’s very doubtful,” continued Ray, who is on the verge of resuming training following a close season knee operation. “I certainly won’t rule out staying at the club as a player if the right terms come along, but I’ve already had three good offers to carry on playing that I need to look into.

“There’s another person that I will be speaking to again and he’s said he would be interested in taking me over to where he is. I’m going away tomorrow (yesterday) morning only for two days to meet up with my partner and think about what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it.”

Ray’s departure comes just seven months after United’s unforgettable FA Cup journey ended with a valiant third round defeat to Championship big guns Middlesbrough, an occasion which he says now “seems like a previous life”.

“We were only one or two players away from having a good squad,” Ray added. “Mark Stapley has been really, really good for me, and I just hope he gets looked after now. He does that job for nothing and the club needs men like him.”

United will play their first home game of the new term against Walton Casuals on Monday night.