Managers hit back after controversial Star sackings

Darren Jarvis believes his sacking as co-boss at Peterborough Northern Star was unjust.
Darren Jarvis believes his sacking as co-boss at Peterborough Northern Star was unjust.
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Sacked Peterborough Northern Star co-manager Darren Jarvis has issued a hard-hitting statement in response to his controversial departure.

Jarvis was dismissed alongside co-boss Michael Goode less than 48 hours after they had led their side to the semi-finals of the Hinchingbrooke Cup.

Star issued a statement last week (February 20) which carried quotes from managing director Tony Zirpolo.

Zirpolo said: “It is not a decision I have taken lightly, but I don’t feel we have made the necessary progress on the pitch.

“I have very a clear direction in which I want the club to go – something which the managers were made aware of when they were appointed - and I don’t feel that is currently happening.

“It goes without saying that I thank Darren and Michael for their efforts during their tenure at Star and wish them all the best for the future.”

That statement led to the following response from Jarvis who was also speaking on behalf of Goode. The directof of football they refer to is Domenico Genovese.

“Before we get too involved, we would just want to say that the players have been fantastic for us! Different class. We would like to thank them for their commitment when playing for us and for their support whilst not playing for us recently. Also

“Anyway, Michael and I are disappointed on many fronts. We’re disappointed to have been ‘sacked’ when we believe we’ve done – and were carrying on doing – a good job.

“Facts are facts, so I’ll deal with a few. We were over-achieving given our club budget. We were seventh in the league, strongly competing for sixth and with our two strikers both about to return from injury. On a budget table, the club would sit around 10th or 11th. We were in two semi-finals and we’d performed reasonably well in FA competitions winning through two rounds in the Vase and one round in the FA Cup.

“So that alone feels rather strange, to remove us when you would think we were involved in a good season.

“PNS approached us when we were managing Blackstones, asking us to take over during December 2012. At that point, the club were sitting around 12th or 13th in the table, with a side that was in our opinion overpaid. We lost a few players, we brought a couple in, but ultimately it was about building for next season. In that half season where we inherited a squad, the club finished 13th in the league.

“The following season (last season) was our first full season, building our own squad. The budget was slightly reduced from the previous season, but we finished ninth and built a squad that we knew was young, would develop and improve, and that would provide a great platform to continue moving forward, which brings us to the current day and the club being in the position as described above.

“It’s worth mentioning that when we were appointed, we were asked to just ‘stay out of trouble’. The second season (last season), it was explained that we were to ‘be in the top half’ and try and involve some of our youngsters that were doing so well in our reserves. This season the target was to try and be around the top eight and try to get as many local players playing for the club where possible, but without compromising our league position/performance.

“Last season, we used many of the good crop of youngsters from the reserves, such as Josh Sanders, Dan George, Sam Wilson, Dan Wilson, Ryan Lomas, Joe Papworth-Moore, Aaron Warrerner to name a few. At the beginning of this season, we explained to some of these players that we would want them in our squad, but we couldn’t guarantee them starting every week – you can’t guarantee that to any player.

But the likelihood was that they would certainly make 20–25 first team appearances, coupled with playing in the reserves. We felt this would definitely be progress for them, but some moved to Bourne to join their former manager.

“Do we think they will become top UCL players and maybe go higher? Yes, absolutely. But just not yet, and we weren’t going to lie to them to just keep them at the club, particularly as we were tasked with being inside the top eight.

“We still managed to use some of the reserves though, most notably Matt Ilsley (a talented u18), Ivo Bento (a player that myself and Michael brought to the club) Ben Carter their young goal keeper, Kyle Butler (another player we brought to the club) and Ryan Lomas (before he was injured.) We wanted to use James Hill Seekings on numerous occasions, but the club allow him to play his Saturday football elsewhere. Likewise Harley Williams.

“So that’s a snapshot of where the club was, what was asked for, and what was delivered. We won two ‘manager(s) of the month’ awards earlier in this season, endured a difficult January with injuries etc which culminated in some poor results, but with players returning from injury and some great performances in some matches where we received no luck at all. It was plain to see that our form was turning.

“We had some extremely tough fixtures to work through such as Wisbech Town and Diamonds etc, and a cup quarter final. With the Wisbech and Diamonds fixtures out of the way, and after securing passage to another cup semi final, before setting foot off the pitch the club ‘director of football’ told us the chairman wanted a meeting the following night.

“Unfortunately with less than 24 hours notice and prior commitments, we couldn’t make it. We said what about Friday? But the chairman was busy. We asked what was the meeting about? Our director of football didn’t know!

“Anyway, Friday evening I received a phone call from our ‘director of football’ explaining that the chairman thought we were not the right people to ‘take the club forward’. Reasons being we didn’t train, the academy isn’t working, we weren’t involving reserves or under 18s, and that we didn’t have enough local players.

“Other club officials hadn’t a clue it had happened, hadn’t been consulted, but the chairman’s trusted director of football explained it was the chairman’s decision alone.

“Did we train? Of course we did, there was perhaps two weeks over a two-year period where we couldn’t for one reason or another. The academy wasn’t working; not our responsibility, the director of football runs that as his full time job (in addition to managing the under 18s midweek side), so his responsibility.

“Did we involve reserves or under 18s? See above. Did we have local players playing for us? Of course we did. Majority of our squad lived within 10 miles of the ground!

“But anyway, they were the ‘reasonss’. The club explained to us – and to the players in a recent meeting with them since our departure – that they were making significant improvements off the pitch as they want to achieve promotion to step 4 within two years of this season ending.

“But they want to achieve it with academy players – players that let’s be honest, are players that aren’t selected by Posh, Cambridge Utd, Histon, St Neots etc etc and are then given an opportunity by a step 5 club (I think you get my point).

“I’m not knocking step 5 clubs having academies, far from it. But let’s be true to ourselves, they’re there to provide their clubs with income (3k per student!).

“Ultimately, there’s been absolutely no progress off the pitch. People were introduced to the club to increase the revenue, increase attendances. There’s been no real change. One area where there has been progress though was on the pitch, each season in terms of League position, cup progress, quality of the squad.

“We’ve brought some of the very best local young talent to the club It would seem that it wasn’t quite enough though! The club have appointed the ‘director of football’ as the caretaker manager until the end of the season. He seems a busy man

doesn’t he! I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.

“We wish the club well and we look forward to seeing them achieve step 4 status in a little over two years. Watch this space!”