Boss Garner to step down at the close of the season

Simon Garner, second left, is stepping down as Clitheroe manager at the end of the season, along with assistant Ryan Parr, right
Simon Garner, second left, is stepping down as Clitheroe manager at the end of the season, along with assistant Ryan Parr, right

Clitheroe boss Simon Garner has announced that he’ll be stepping down from his role at Shawbridge at the end of the season.

The player-manager, who has now made over 250 appearances for the Blues, made his decision public following the 4-3 defeat to Brighouse Town on home soil midweek.

Assistant Ryan Parr and coach Jordan Allen will also vacate their positions after the Evo-Stik First Division North fixture against Witton Albion on April 23rd.

The trio have contributed to one of the club’s most memorable seasons in its history, guiding the Blues to the brink of the play-offs, despite being made favourites for the drop.

Clitheroe climbed as high as third in the division, but five defeats on the bounce has ended any hopes of a top-five finish.

With the club currently emulating its best-ever finish in the hierarchy, 20 years on from their FA Vase final appearance at Wembley, Garner explained that he couldn’t dedicate the time to push the Ribble Valley outfit forward again.

“It’s been in our minds for a while, but we thought that this was the best time to do it,” he said. “We’ve done well this season and the club has over-achieved ,which has probably been proven by our last five results. The implosion that we’ve had is still hard to take though.

“We’ve got a great side here but it’s going to take time and effort to strengthen it and go again. Unfortunately, due to family and work commitments, that’s something that we don’t have.

“It would be difficult to replicate or improve on what we’ve done this season. I just feel that we’ve done as much as we can and taken the club as far as we could.”

While the disappointment of missing out on the play-offs currently overshadows Garner’s remarkable achievements this term, the midfielder accepts that he’ll eventually look back on his tenure with pride.

“We should be celebrating what we’ve achieved now, but this recent run has put a bit of a downer on things,” he said.

“The lads have done great and I’m thankful to all of them for the effort they’ve given us. They’ve been superb.”

Garner, who faces his last home game in charge against Burscough on Saturday, added: “We want to ensure that we finish in sixth place now. I want to go out on a high. We’ve had a really good time here, we’ve really enjoyed it, and we’ll look to end it with maximum points from our final two games.

“This decision hasn’t been easy at all. It’s been really tough. I’ve had a long affiliation with the club, but I just need to take a break and have some time with my family.”