John Suter spoke of his shock at being sacked as Midhurst FC boss - and said it probably spelled the end of his four-decade spell as a football manager.
The 76-year-old was told he no longer had a job when he turned up at the Rotherfield club’s training session last Thursday night – and says he had no inkling whatsoever he was in line for the axe.
Football’s been ever so good to me – I’ve made hundreds of friends through it, right from when I started playing for Wick aged 15. I’ve won a few things in my time, too. But this isn’t the way I’d have wanted to end my career.John Suter
Suter said he had improved the Southern Combination division-one side’s fortunes in his year at the club and was hurt at being dispensed with now and not being given the chance to oversee the whole season.
Midhurst chairman Mark Broughton admitted the ‘club decision’ was made with heavy heart and thanked Suter for his excellent work.
Suter has managed Wick, where he also played, Selsey, Storrington, Horsham YMCA, Pease Pottage, Redhill, Hassocks, Worthing United, Littlehampton, Steyning, Midhurst and the Sussex rep side in a 41-year managerial career. He has been playing and managing in football for 60 years in all.
A statement issued by Broughton said: “With a heavy heart, we can announce we have parted company with manager John Suter.
“Following a meeting last Thursday, it was decided bring John’s time at the club to an end. We believe that John has built great foundations at the club, but felt we needed a fresh impetus to push us on to our season objectives.
“The club would like to thank John for his excellent work, both on and off the field and wish him the very best for the future.”
Suter took over at Midhurst a few games into last season after the Stags had a turbulent start to the campaign. They finished third from bottom last season and had enjoyed a good start this time, with three wins and three draws in their first nine league games.
Suter told the Observer: “I’m extremely disappointed to be sacked because I’ve enjoyed being with Midhurst. I’ve enjoyed the team performances and working with the players.
“I felt the season had started well and would say it could have turned into one where we had an outside chance of promotion.
“The club say they need fresh impetus to achieve the season’s objectives but I was never given those objectives. I was working to improve on last year and we were improving on that - it had been the club’s best start for many years.
“It’s an unusual situation in that in the dressing room, you’ve got a number of players who are on the club committee.
“But I didn’t see this coming, not at all. In a workplace, if your company are thinking of firing you, you normally get a warning, but I didn’t get anything, no chance to put anything right or do anything differently.
“I’m disappointed I couldn’t at least see out this season with them. If there was dissatisfaction from anyone in the job I was doing, I wish they had told me so.”
Suter said he would not be looking for another manager’s job. He admitted the fact he no longer took training sessions could have been a factor in the club’s decision, but he said that’s what he had a coach to do.
“I’ve had a number of people expressing disbelief I’ve been sacked. I gave it 100 per cent so it is very disappointing.
“Football’s been ever so good to me – I’ve made hundreds of friends through it, right from when I started playing for Wick aged 15. I’ve won a few things in my time, too.
“But this isn’t the way I’d have wanted to end my career.”
Dave Berkowitz, who recently came in as Suter’s right-hand man, has taken over as manager. He oversaw Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Southwick and Tuesday night’s 4-0 Peter Bentley Cup loss away to one of his old sides Pagham.
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