Beaten Borough boss bows out
Deflated, demoralised and defeated was how Anthony Choat was left following his team’s forced demotion from the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.
And he decided on Saturday that he could not continue in his role as Haverhill Borough manager, with the club now searching for a suitable replacement ahead of Saturday’s deadline.
Chairman Dave Hardwick has similarly decided to resign after being involved with the club since its 2011 inception while Cody Frazier, Choat’s assistant manager, has also quit.
The management duo, still registered as players, had accepted the roles following a season in charge of the Reserves side and Choat’s turn as assistant manager during the 2016/17 season, which ended in Borough’s promotion to the Thurlow Nunn top flight.
Choat and Frazier were in their first season at the helm of a club itself breaking new ground in its inaugural season at Step 5.
They oversaw 12 league victories (and four draws) on the way to a 20th placed finish – a position that would have been enough to retain a place in the league had the club been able to find a resolution to their ground being deemed below the necessary standard.
The issue rolled on for months, as the committee desperately sought a solution including a one-season ground share with Haverhill Rovers – before their New Croft landlords, the Haverhill Community Sports Association (HCSA), denied them any recourse.
This condemned the side to relegation to the First Division, ending the club’s run of fortune and promotions since forming in 2011. It is the first time the club have gone down rather than up.
And the manner in which it happened proved too much for Choat to handle, as he admitted to being ‘knocked for six’ to find out the club’s on-field efforts had been in vain.
He said: “Nothing was easy for us all season and I found it hard, particularly with everything that’s happened off the pitch.
“It’s very deflating to be told you’re going down anyway, we deserved more for our efforts and I feel a bit defeated, it didn’t feel fair.
“The experience has left me demoralised and thinking about what I want and I’m not alone.
“There’s a lot of the people in the same boat, a lot of people who have put in so much time and effort, only to have it thrown in our face.
“We have been able to overcome many hurdles at Borough since we began but not this time, and it hurts.
“It’s been a long, tough season for me and it’s taken a lot out of me. I think it’s time for the club to rebuild, and get a fresh pair of eyes.”
The goalkeeper said he plans to take a year out from all football but is open to ‘the right offer’ to return to management sooner – although he believes his playing days are over.
“Never say never,” he said. “I might end up back at Borough one day, it’s amicable my departure.
“And I’m taking a year. So it would have to be the right offer to entice me back to management sooner, and Cody would have to be involved as well.”