Railway’s search for new manager goes on

Liam Gray in action during his time as player-boss of Harrogate Railway. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Harrogate Railway remain on the look-out for a new manager following their sacking of player-boss Liam Gray last week.

The Starbeck club acted to relieve Gray of his position following 11 consecutive league defeats, a run that has seen them plummet to second-from-bottom of the NCEL Premier Division.

Ex-Bradford Park Avenue and Farsley Celtic chief John Deacey had been linked to the vacant role, but has now ruled himself out of the running.

“Harrogate Railway is a great club with a great history, but at this present time it’s not something that I can take on,” he said.

With Deacey no longer in contention, Railway committee member Alan Smith confirmed that the Station View outfit are “looking for a new manager.”

He added: “The aim for whoever we bring in will be to keep the club in the Premier Division because this is where we want to be.

“Ray Green and Lee Ryan will continue to look after the team and we’re quite happy with that for the time being, however, neither one of them want the job on a permanent basis.”

Reflecting on the Railwaymen’s performance so far this season and the decision to dismiss Gray, Smith said: “The league table doesn’t lie. It’s not gone very well.”

Gray, a long-serving ex-Railway player and captain, was sacked in the wake of a 3-0 reverse at Maltby Main on October 28.

Appointed to the role in early June, his tenure initially began well and he oversaw back-to-back victories in his first two competitive games at the helm.

The Rail kicked off 2017/18 with a 4-3 triumph at Thackley in the FA Cup then followed it up with a 3-1 home success over Athersley Recreation in their opening Premier Division fixture of the campaign.

Just one win was to follow in the subsequent 15 league games that Gray took charge of however, leaving the men from Station View entrenched in the relegation zone.

“I know that I did everything that I could,” Gray said.

“I had 16 league games in charge, and in my mind I was planning for the next five years, not just 16 matches.

“It would be a big ask of any manager in the world to try and transform a club with one of the lowest budgets in the league in the space of just 16 games.

“I don’t hold grudges though and I wish the club all the very best for the future.

“I just hope that they stick to the plan that was agreed upon at the start of this season to try and bring young, local players through and develop them. It’s the only way forward.”

Railway were beaten 6-1 by Pontefract Collieries in their most recent outing, with Ryan and Green overseeing matters from the dugout.

Next up is a trip to Albion Sports on Saturday, 3pm k.o.

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