Surprised Ashforth keen to repay faith from Harrogate Railway committee

Harrogate Railway manager Lee Ashfoth (Photo: Caught Light Photography)
Harrogate Railway manager Lee Ashfoth (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Lee Ashforth wants to repay the faith of Harrogate Railway’s committee after being handed a second chance by the relegated side.

The Railway committee offered Ashforth a second year in charge last week despite the young manager overseeing a drop into the Northern Counties.

Ashforth met acting chairman Nigel Corner, wealthy backer Rob Northfield and other members last Thursday to agree a stay.

However, assistant Simon Wood will leave the backroom staff and a replacement has been approached.

Ashforth said: “In the end, it was quite an easy decision. I am a loyal person and the club has been loyal to me.

“I have had a couple of calls from other clubs and it did turn my head a couple of times but I have to be loyal, it’s one of my positive traits.

The Harrogate Railway supporters have endured a painful season following the club but have kept the faith in manager Lee Ashforth (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

The Harrogate Railway supporters have endured a painful season following the club but have kept the faith in manager Lee Ashforth (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

“I took them down and now I have to repay that faith and get a team together that can push the club towards getting back into the Evo-Stik Leagues.”

Railway won just six matches in a miserable campaign in Evo-Stik First Division North, Ashforth’s first in charge after taking over from Billy Miller last summer.

Despite festering around the drop zone all campaign, Ashforth’s position as manager was not questioned by the Railway board.

The boss accepted mistakes were made and admitted the decision to back him as manager left him “a little bit surprised”.

Ashforth said: “Never at any point has anyone discussed the sack. I have never really felt that pressure.

“There have been times where I have felt despondent but the club has never wavered in its support.

“They realised how difficult it was always going to be after rebuilding the squad.

“I am a little bit surprised they didn’t sack me within the season but it never really crossed my mind.

“When we lost to Ossett Town, the club would have been in their rights to get rid of me but they didn’t.”

Wood stepped into a coaching role as Ashforth’s right-hand man at the start of the season and only made a handful of appearances as a player.

The defender wants to return his concentration to playing. He may return to Station View but has had offers from other clubs.

Railway’s players have been set a deadline of May 16 to tell Ashforth whether they want to stay at the club next season.