Witton Albion chairman Mark Harris says club will take time to appoint Brian Pritchard's successor as manager

Witton Albion chairman Mark Harris

Witton Albion chairman Mark Harris

First published in Sport Northwich Guardian: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Senior Sports Writer

MARK Harris did not try to persuade Brian Pritchard to change his mind after he asked to leave his position as Witton Albion’s manager.

The 39-year-old’s departure was announced to stunned supporters on Monday, minutes after the final whistle in a 3-1 victory against Marine.

“If somebody wants to go then it’s not a good idea to prevent that from happening for long,” said the chairman.

“Brian has dedicated a large part of his life to this club, and it’s not for me to question the reasons he has given for reaching the decision he has.

“I’m as gutted as every fan, and in some ways have been caught on the hop. But Brian has made the running on this.”

Harris told the Guardian he would now focus securing a replacement before Witton play their first match in this season’s FA Cup on September 13.

The remaining members of Albion’s management team – Anthony Sheehan, Nigel Deeley and Dave Andrew – will take charge in the interim.

And Harris has not ruled out the caretaker trio becoming Pritchard’s permanent successor.

He said: “The FA Cup is a line in the sand, and we need to be in the best possible position by then to progress.

“Initially, continuity is important and we have that in those three.

“If collectively they demonstrate they can help performances improve in the way they have the past couple of games, then great.

“They’ll have an opportunity to do that.”

That does not mean a candidate from outside would be a secondary choice.

On the contrary, Harris revealed he has spent time since Thursday’s meeting with Pritchard listing the names of potential candidates.

He added: “It would be remiss of me not to be alert to every possibility.

“I’m not interested in a revolution, but an individual who shares our philosophy.

“I want a communicator, somebody capable of getting their message across.

“We also need a calm person who fits in with the structure we have already, one that’s taken time to build.”

He conceded Witton’s hopes of challenging for promotion this season have been dealt a blow by the timing of Pritchard’s exit.

Leaving after only four games, two of which ended in victory over the weekend, represents a setback for a team the now former manager has rated as talented enough to reach the Northern Premier League’s summit.

They occupy ninth position in the Premier Division ahead of Saturday’s trip to Whitby.

“We remain ambitious and will continue to aim high,” said Harris.

“Brian’s brief this year wasn’t to win promotion, but to improve on last year.”

He added that a sequence of wins in this season’s FA Cup, which would attract thousands of pounds in prize money, is a priority in the short term.

So too is reassuring the players that a project started by Pritchard, which has included the recruitment of more than half a dozen new faces, will not be left unfinished.

“There will be different reactions in the squad,” said Harris.

“But most of the signings we made during the close season are seasoned professionals who have been in this position before.

“Their task now is to demonstrate they want to stay.

“Brian told them the same thing in the changing room before he stepped down. Like me, he expects them to give whoever follows him their full support.

“That’s the only way we can move forward. If we don’t stick together, we’re in trouble.”

Comments (5)

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10:43am Fri 29 Aug 14

John Doe Northwich says...

Witton really have failed in an excellent opportunity to make themselves the towns team. Mark Harris must bear some responsibility - Witton have failed to find themselves a kit sponsor - what is wrong with reputable Northwich business being branded around the stadium and on the shirts?

Northwich Vics have this issue too - no one will touch them.

The two clubs are toxic.
Witton really have failed in an excellent opportunity to make themselves the towns team. Mark Harris must bear some responsibility - Witton have failed to find themselves a kit sponsor - what is wrong with reputable Northwich business being branded around the stadium and on the shirts? Northwich Vics have this issue too - no one will touch them. The two clubs are toxic. John Doe Northwich
  • Score: -3

3:46pm Fri 29 Aug 14

StevieGa says...

1874 Northwich seem to be striking the right chord with local businesses. They don't seem to be having a problem getting sponsorship at the moment.
1874 Northwich seem to be striking the right chord with local businesses. They don't seem to be having a problem getting sponsorship at the moment. StevieGa
  • Score: -4

1:44pm Fri 5 Sep 14

Matt Cat says...

John Doe for your information Witton do have a shirt sponsor from a Cheshire company, ok there not on the Northwich high st but how many shops/businesses in Northwich can afford to sponsor a football team or even have an advertisment board around the pitch?
Northwich is a ghost town with empty shops and the crazy roadworks and everyones suffering! Yes we would love to be sponsored by a large local business and have shops taking us up on pitch advertising but its not gonna happen in the current economic situation which I believe is not all down to Mark Harris! !
John Doe for your information Witton do have a shirt sponsor from a Cheshire company, ok there not on the Northwich high st but how many shops/businesses in Northwich can afford to sponsor a football team or even have an advertisment board around the pitch? Northwich is a ghost town with empty shops and the crazy roadworks and everyones suffering! Yes we would love to be sponsored by a large local business and have shops taking us up on pitch advertising but its not gonna happen in the current economic situation which I believe is not all down to Mark Harris! ! Matt Cat
  • Score: 2

11:33pm Fri 5 Sep 14

PrideofNorthwich says...

John Doe Northwich wrote:
Witton really have failed in an excellent opportunity to make themselves the towns team. Mark Harris must bear some responsibility - Witton have failed to find themselves a kit sponsor - what is wrong with reputable Northwich business being branded around the stadium and on the shirts?

Northwich Vics have this issue too - no one will touch them.

The two clubs are toxic.
With respect Witton have been the "towns team" for several seasons now. Playing in the highest league of all local clubs, have the best ground/facilities, and are the best community club by a country mile. Get yourself down mate, old habits die hard though I guess...All Wittoners are eternally grateful for what Mark has done for the club and long may it continue. Pride of Mid Cheshire :)
[quote][p][bold]John Doe Northwich[/bold] wrote: Witton really have failed in an excellent opportunity to make themselves the towns team. Mark Harris must bear some responsibility - Witton have failed to find themselves a kit sponsor - what is wrong with reputable Northwich business being branded around the stadium and on the shirts? Northwich Vics have this issue too - no one will touch them. The two clubs are toxic.[/p][/quote]With respect Witton have been the "towns team" for several seasons now. Playing in the highest league of all local clubs, have the best ground/facilities, and are the best community club by a country mile. Get yourself down mate, old habits die hard though I guess...All Wittoners are eternally grateful for what Mark has done for the club and long may it continue. Pride of Mid Cheshire :) PrideofNorthwich
  • Score: 2

11:38pm Fri 5 Sep 14

PrideofNorthwich says...

StevieGa wrote:
1874 Northwich seem to be striking the right chord with local businesses. They don't seem to be having a problem getting sponsorship at the moment.
Vics used to as well....
[quote][p][bold]StevieGa[/bold] wrote: 1874 Northwich seem to be striking the right chord with local businesses. They don't seem to be having a problem getting sponsorship at the moment.[/p][/quote]Vics used to as well.... PrideofNorthwich
  • Score: 2
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