MARCUS TYLER reports on an unexpected development at the Trams
Officials at Croydon FC were called into hurriedly arranged meetings this morning after news broke that first-team coach Harry Hudson and his assistant Callum McFarlane have left the club to take up the management at Isthmian Division One South club Whyteleafe.
Whyteleafe announced their coup yesterday afternoon, to which Croydon responded on social media, apparently having had no advance notice of the departure of Hudson and McFarlane. “Croydon FC would like to thank Harry and Callum for the work done on and off the pitch at the Arena,” they tweeted.
The duo had taken over at Croydon FC less than 12 months ago, joining with new sponsors Sportswik and chairman Martin Burr, working alongside their own Kinetic Foundation coaching charity on the club’s youth and senior teams. They delivered a transitional, and transformational, year, with Croydon finishing fifth in the South-East Counties League.
Hudson and McFarlane’s move will send shivers down the back of Tram fans, who will remember how another Croydon manager, John Fowler, quit the club five years ago to take over at Whyteleafe, and took with him virtually the entire first-team squad.
Croydon’s officials are hopeful that history won’t repeat itself, as Hudson and McFarlane are to remain directors of Kinetic and continue with their involvement in the Foundation’s youth set-up at Croydon Arena while managing the senior team at Church Road. In the past four years, 26 Kinetic players have landed jobs as professional footballers with league clubs, including Manchester City, Burnley and Charlton, and with one youngster winning a Wales under-21 international cap.
“As a coach, Harry wants to work at a higher level,” said James Fotheringham, a co-founder of Kinetic and regular in Croydon’s back-four last season.
“There is nothing negative about what has gone on. Harry will continue to be involved at the club as a director and running the Kinetic academy.”
Mark Coote, Whyteleafe’s chairman, announced his club’s move by saying, “Harry is completely the right fit for this club going forward.
“Although he is young and untested at this level, he has enormous experience of working with young players and developing their game. I firmly believe the future is an exciting one for the first team and the club and I know Harry and his team are looking forward to getting on with the job at pre-season training.”
Hudson was not available for comment today, as he is away on holiday. He will be back in time to oversee the start of pre-season training, with Whyteleafe’s first friendly fixture against Loxwood at Church Road on July 10.
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