Garner takes the hotseat

NEW MAN: Simon Garner is welcomed back to Shawbridge as Clitheroe's new manager, by chairman Anne Barker, taking over from Paul Moore before Tuesday's LFA Challenge Trophy clash at home to North West Counties League Premier Division strugglers Wigan Robin Park.

NEW MAN: Simon Garner is welcomed back to Shawbridge as Clitheroe's new manager, by chairman Anne Barker, taking over from Paul Moore before Tuesday's LFA Challenge Trophy clash at home to North West Counties League Premier Division strugglers Wigan Robin Park.

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Clitheroe have appointed former player Simon Garner as their new manager.

Garner, 29, son of former Blues boss and chairman Carl, took charge of his first game on Tuesday night as Clitheroe were knocked out of the LFA Challenge Trophy on penalties at home to Wigan Robin Park.

The club parted company with Paul Moore, officially by mutual consent, before Saturday’s 3-0 win at home to Kendal Town, and moved quickly to appoint his successor.

Garner is a familiar face, having enjoyed three spells as a player with the club, and he is looking forward to the challenge: “It’s been a whirlwind really. I was approached on Sunday, met with the club’s committee that evening, and was offered the job on Monday.

“I’ve always thought about management, but I didn’t expect the opportunity to arise so soon. I’ve been at the club previously in my playing career, I know what it’s all about, so this was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to turn down.”

Garner added: “My dad was as surprised as me to be honest. I couldn’t believe it but I’m really excited about it. My dad is fully behind me and he’ll be a good help. He’s had previous experience with the club and still holds it in high regard. He believes in me and knows this is a great opportunity for me.”

Clitheroe have disputed claims they sacked Moore, who was under pressure after the 3-0 FA Trophy replay defeat at Radcliffe Borough last Tuesday, on the back of two wins in the first 11 league games.

But Moore feels last season’s eighth place finish - the highest in the club’s history - should have given him more time to turn things around: “I wasn’t aware anything was going on until I got to the ground on Saturday, and I sensed things were not quite normal.

“I spoke to the chairlady Anne (Barker) before kick-off and she informed me it was something the club had decided. I couldn’t fight it or persuade them to change their minds, that was that.

“It’s bitterly disappointing, I feel last season I gave them a really good season.

“I know you can’t dwell on that, but we lost nine players over the summer, and had to rebuild with a competitive budget, but not the type of budget to push for the play-offs.

“Maybe we over-achieved last season, but we lost players and brought in new lads, and had some misfortune with injuries and suspensions, and on Saturday, we put a team out that had signs of doing very well.

“We blew Kendal away.

“I’m disappointed they didn’t stand by me longer, and I feel it’s something of a kneejerk reaction.

“I’m annoyed no-one felt they could give me more time - maybe the end of October, until Christmas...we were never going to be relegated.

“We’re 15th and one win from the top 10. Am I not worth more time?

“When clubs were interested in me from higher divisions I spoke long and hard with the chairlady and didn’t go behind their backs, but I feel this has been done behind my back.

“We could have ended up in the play-offs this season if they had stuck by me, I’m a positive guy but I feel let down.

“I know the players are disappointed with the decision, and I’ve had a lot of text messages from around the league saying they can’t believe it.

“She sacked me basically.

“I took them from fourth bottom to their highest finish and points total ever in 12 months. What more do they want?

“But I’d like to thank the club for the opportunity, and I go with good memories.

“I’d like to thank the fans for their support as well - I’m just disappointed I couldn’t continue the three-year plan we agreed on.”

Clitheroe cited “a poor start to the season, the lack of success in either of the major FA competitions over the past two years and the corresponding financial impact, compounded by a drop in home attendances and an alarming fall in away support” as guiding the committee’s position.

And Barker said: “Paul Moore agreed with the decision that he should leave, and it was his decision to leave after the game - I didn’t sack him. That couldn’t be any further from the truth.”