BARNSTAPLE TOWN’S second new manager of the summer has urged people to get behind the crisis-hit football club.
Dave Griffiths (pictured) has taken charge after Pete Buckingham shocked Town by resigning late last week.
Buckingham ended his second spell as manager at Mill Road after just 60 days – before a ball had been kicked.
Buckingham, who has been appointed manager at Elmore, has claimed in today’s Journal his decision was made in the best interests of the Toolstation Western League club. He argued it was designed to highlight just how “desperate” the club’s situation is.
Losing a manager who was only appointed in May, following the resignation of Owen Pickard, will have done little to help. No money, no chairman, no lead sponsor and no manager.
It left Griffiths making a plea for help both on and off the field.
“It’s another kick in the teeth on top of everything else,” said Griffiths, who had been appointed joint manager alongside Buckingham, although that role was not made clear by the club at the time.
“The people of Barnstaple have got to support us.
“People like David Cooke (the acting chairman) are on their last legs and nobody is coming forward to help.
“The town really needs to get behind us because if it doesn’t there won’t be Western League football here for long. It’s the last-chance saloon.”
Having lost several of the nine new signings Buckingham named last week, Griffiths has been working with Terry Chapple, the former reserve-team boss, to put together a squad. And he wants to see any footballer from North Devon who has ever felt they could cut it in the Western League.
“I have secured nine players with good Western League experience and three or four left from the (disbanded) reserve team who still want to play,” said Griffiths.
“People have said they could play in the Western League. Well, they can come along and prove it – it’s an open invitation to everyone in North Devon.”
Buckingham defended his decision to quit four weeks before the first league game – a move first reported on the Journal website on Friday.
“It was far better for me to make the decision now,” he said. “I had a couple of sleepless nights and spoke in depth to Dave Griffiths and we agreed that me resigning might highlight that the football club is in trouble and fighting for survival.
“I sincerely hope that Barnstaple pull through this difficult period.”
In a letter published in today’s Journal, John Clarke, an honorary life president, also calls on the people of the town to support his club. He writes: “Please come to the first home game ... bring a friend.”
Any player interested in joining Barnstaple can call Dave Griffiths on 07715 374768.
Town’s first pre-season friendly is at home against Holsworthy on Saturday (4pm).