Middleton resigns as Ashington manager

Gary Middleton, who has resigned as Ashington manager.
Gary Middleton, who has resigned as Ashington manager.

Ashington FC are searching for a new manager following the resignation of Gary Middleton on Monday morning.

After four seasons of progress under Middleton, the Colliers have struggled this term and he decided to leave the role.

He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Ashington FC and feel the club moved forward during this period.

“Sometimes in life you get to the end of a road with nowhere to go and at present I feel that is the situation.

“I leave the club on the best possible terms and would like to thank the players and staff who have supported me during my time at Ashington.

“Finally, the working relationship between myself, Ian Lavery and Peter Moran and the backing they have always given me has been second to none and I wish them and the club every success in the future.”

Ashington chairman Ian Lavery said: “Gary served as manager for over five years and during that period took the club to three cup finals and won the Northumberland Senior Cup for the first time in over 30 years, as well as firmly establishing Ashington as a top six side.

“During Gary’s tenure the club recorded famous victories against clubs from higher leagues including Vauxhall Motors and Guiseley in a memorable FA cup run that came to an end at Conference side Grimsby Town.

“Gary has been a force for positive progress at Ashington and on behalf of everyone at the club I wish him every success for the future.

“I am sure that once he has recharged his batteries he will be back in the game and be a valuable asset to whoever secures his services.”

Middleton’s assistants Perry Briggs and Steve Swinyard have also left, with the club adding that in the short term first team affairs will be the responsibility of Dave Brown – the Ashington Colliers manager - whilst a permanent replacement is sought.

Anyone who wishes to apply for the post of first team manager should do so in writing to Peter Moran, Vice-Chairman, Ashington Football Club, care of NAMHA, 7 Esther Court, Wansbeck Business Park, Ashington, NE63 8AP.

The closing date for applications is Friday, February 6.

Ashington are currently 16th in the table and 12 points above the relegation trap door.

Middleton took over for the start of the 2009-10 campaign and at the end of season saw his outfit reach the final of both the Northumberland Senior Cup and League Cup.

However, they went down 2-1 against Whitley Bay in the former competition then dramatically lost the other 6-5 after a penalty shoot-out against South Shields.

Success followed as his side advanced to the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup before they went out at Grimsby in the 2011-12 campaign.

In the same season – where they finished fifth in the Ebac Northern League’s first division - the Wansbeck side made it through to the fourth round of the FA Vase before bowing out against Shortwood.

Then the following year they exited the same competition against Bodmin after a long travel to Cornwall.

However, Middleton’s finest hour came in 2012-13 when they won the Senior Cup for the first time in 33 years with a 3-0 victory over Whitley Bay at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park.

The club released the following statement: “Following a conversation this morning, the chairman has accepted the resignation of first team manager Gary Middleton.”