I didn't want Harrogate Railway friends to sack me, says outgoing boss Lee Ashforth

Lee Ashforth (Photo: Caught Light Photography)
Lee Ashforth (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Lee Ashforth said he made the decision to leave Harrogate Railway with a “heavy heart” but felt it was the right time for all concerned.

Ashforth resigned as manager of the Station View club on Monday night following the humiliating FA Cup exit at Northern League side Consett on Saturday.

The manager was in charge for 17 months at Railway but presided over the club’s relegation from the Evo-Stik League last season.

Chairman Rob Northfield kept faith with him for the new beginning in the Northern Counties East League but, after a promising start, Ashforth’s side suffered three successive defeats, conceding 14 goals without reply in the process.

Ashforth said it was time for the club to “start again”.

The outgoing boss said: “I went home on Saturday night and sat down to discuss where I would go with it.

Lee Ashforth during his final moments in charge at Harrogate Railway (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Lee Ashforth during his final moments in charge at Harrogate Railway (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

“I realised I wasn’t enjoying it any more and made the decision pretty quickly.

“I spoke to four of five close friends in football and we all said the time was right to finish. By Sunday, my mind was made up.

“I got in touch with the football committee and brought a meeting forward by 24 hours.

“I told them that the last two results had been unacceptable and the team needed some extra players and extra input and a new manager to take the club forward.”

Railway lost 5-0 in their last game under Ashforth (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Railway lost 5-0 in their last game under Ashforth (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Assistant manager Martin Powell will take training at Station View tonight and applications for the role of manager must be made by next Friday.

Railway’s next match is at Ashforth’s former club Liversedge on Tuesday..

Ashforth has had a long association at Railway having played for the club as a goalkeeper.

He rejoined the club as Billy Miller’s assistant manager five years ago and took over as boss following Miller’s decision to join Tadcaster Albion.

Ashforth faced a mass player exodus following Miller’s exit and was unable to keep Railway afloat in the Evo-Stik league after a tumultuous season.

Ashforth, whose side sit one place above the relegation zone in NCEL Premier, added: “I have spent over seven years of my life at the club and I was conscious that everybody around that committee table were friends.

“I didn’t want them to have to think about sacking me. I didn’t want to put them in that position.

“It’s really difficult to move away from a club that is so dear to my heart. They deserve to be a successful club.

“Last season and the start of this season hasn’t been what they expected it. I have to give the club the chance to move up the table and I am sure they will do in this league.

“Rob thanked me for my time and said they couldn’t question anything that I had done. I have put in 150 per cent.

“I don’t know how managers do it with a full time job doing 30 or 40 hours a week for what is a hobby at the end of the day.”