Axed Haywards Heath Town boss Saunders: Decision tough to take

Shaun Saunders said Haywards Heath Town’s shock decision to relieve him from his managerial duties was a hard pill to swallow.

The boss departed on Monday after a successful seven-year tenure at Hanbury Park across two spells.

He leaves Heath unbeaten in seven, fifth in the Isthmian South East and just two points behind second-placed Ashford United.

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Saunders told the Middy: “I’m very disappointed in the decision and the way it was handled. I came back in when the club was bottom of the league and have turned them into a promotion-chasing side.

Shaun Saunders said Haywards Heath Town’s shock decision to relieve him from his managerial duties was a hard pill to swallow. Picture by Derek Martin Photography and Art

“I find it a hard pill to take as we have lost one in 10, are two points behind second, seven behind [leaders] Hastings with a game in hand and them to play, and we’ve not been out of the top six all season.”

Saunders said the board’s desire for consistency and a more attractive style of football contributed to his surprise dismissal.

He added: “The club wanted more consistency. Injuries to key players haven’t helped of late, but with a few returning I’ve no doubt we were massive title contenders, and would have finished the job.

“I was told the club wanted to bring in a new manager to be more consistent, play a better brand of football and make sure they achieve promotion.”

Saunders guided the Blues to two titles and took Heath to the Isthmian South East play-off semi-finals in their first season at step four.

He said he was happy with all he’d achieved at Hanbury Park and paid tribute to the players and fans.

Saunders said: “I’m very proud of my achievements and the team I have built. I go with my head held high.

“I’d like to thank the players, supporters and club officials for their support during my reign and wish them all the best going forward.

“I have no idea what my plans are going forward.”