Jamie Howell: Eastbourne Borough offered me a new contract a week before they sacked me

Jamie Howell revealed he was offered a new contract by Eastbourne Borough just seven days before he found out he was going to be sacked.

Jamie Howell
Jamie Howell

Howell was dismissed as manager prior to Billericay last Saturday after a meeting with chairman John Bonar and Paul Maynard - Howell admitted he was surprised at the timing.

He was also upset as he was warned the day before by his previous manager - Jack Pearce at Bognor Regis - that he was about to be sacked

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“Results have not been good lately but the way it happened is disappointing,” admitted Howell. “Football is a small world, there were obviously thing going on behind the scenes and it’s disappointing that I had to find out from elsewhere. I spoke to my previous manager on the Friday and he told me, ‘you are going to get the sack tomorrow.’

“If I’m honest, the writing had been on the wall for the last month. Things had changed at the club, it felt different, my relationship with certain people on the board.

“I’m not angry and I’m not bitter but I’m just surprised and a little disappointed with the timing and the way it was done, especially as I was offered a new contract last Friday (February 8).

“To be offered a new contract, then get the sack. Yes it does sound a bit weird but it’s football and things can change.

“Listen, I love football and I love coaching, I’m good at that but politics is not my strong point and that’s how it was becoming. Let’s just say I have learnt a great deal from my experience. And on the whole, it has been a positive experience with Eastbourne Borough.”

Borough are 15th in the National League South and a new interim manager is expected to be in place for Saturday’s match against Wealdstone at Priory Lane. Former Brighton, Leicester, Reading, Motherwell and Wolves manager Mark McGhee has been heavily linked to the role.

Howell added, “I wanted that job and I was so determined to make it work. My regret is that I didn’t get to put my stamp on things as much as I’d have liked. My remit for this season was to keep us in this division and develop the younger players. I feel I achieved that. Of course I wanted to be higher in the table. But give or take three to six points, we are about in line with what our budget is.

“We never really had the budget to challenge for promotion this season. Saying that, even if we had a few extra points and we had won at Burgess Hill (Sussex Senior Cup) it wouldn’t have made a difference, I was gone, the decision was made.

“Things were in place for next season. Things were moving in the right direction. Next season could potentially for a big one for the club - in terms of investment and playing budget - and I’m disappointed I can’t be at the helm for that. I feel as though I have wasted 18 months. It was always going to be a three year project and I wanted to see it through.

“But the club have made a decision they feel is in their best interests. I can’t say I agree with the decision but we will see if turns out to be the right one or not.

“As I say, there are many good people at the club and I wish them and the new manager well for the future.

“I do feel a bit tired by it all but I will have a bit of a break and I do plan to return to football. I have been a manager for more than 10 years and I want to learn and come back better for this.”

A club statement read: “As the club formulated plans for next season, a decision on extending Jamie’s contract needed to be taken, which to a significant degree informed the timing of the decision that was taken by the Board prior to the Billericay game.

“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly. Throughout his time at the Club Jamie has been open and approachable and has treated supporters and officials with utmost respect. Jamie is genuinely one of football’s and life’s nice guys and the decision to part company was taken with a heavy heart but with the best interests of the club.

“Plans to have an interim management team in place before our next training session are well advanced and we expect to be making a further announcement very shortly.”