Axed Guiseley boss Steve Kittrick admits he is ‘gutted’ to leave Nethermoor – after being shown the door by the Skrill North outfit on Wednesday afternoon.
Kittrick’s managerial reign at the club, which had lasted almost six years, was abruptly ended following a meeting, with the Lions citing a poor start to the current campaign – 13th place with two wins from six league games– and the failure to clinch promotion last term as the reasons behind the decision.
The fomer Ossett Town manager, who took over at Nethermoor in November 2007, feels the timing of the decision left a lot to be desired so early in a season and says he turned down rival job offers in the summer to pledge his future to the club.
The news came as a shock to Guiseley supporters, with Kittrick having enjoyed a hugely successful association with the club.
Kittrick helped lead Guiseley to the UniBond Premier Division title in 2009-10 and the following season, the Lions reached in the play-off final in their first campaign in the Conference North, losing to AFC Telford in last-gasp fasghion.
Guiseley also reached the end-of-season lottery in 2011-12 and 2012-13, only to be beaten by Nuneaton Town and FC Halifax Town at the semi-final stage.
In both those campaigns, Guiseley finished as runners-up to the champions – Hyde and Chester – and last season, they were hugely unfortunate to end up in second spot with 91 points with only a record-breaking season from Chester, who amassed a massive 107 points, denying them Conference Premier football.
Kittrick’s record over 84 league games in both those regular seasons stands at 53 wins with just 14 losses, but those statistics and other successes such as winning the West Riding County Cup twice still haven’t been enough to save him from the chop.
Kittrick, who saw a host of influential players such as James Walshaw, Josh Wilson and Kevin Holsgrove leave the club in the summer for pastures new, said: “I am gutted.
“Why didn’t they do it in the summer when I turned two other jobs down?
“Why did they let me go through pre-season? I think it’s poor doing it six games in, but what can I do...
“You lose four or five decent players and it’s difficult.
“But I am proud of my record at the club.”
Central defender Mark Bower will step in as caretaker manager with immediate effect alongside assistant manager Chris Holland and therapist Martin Stringfellow.
Bower will take charge of the game at Boston United on Saturday, with Guiseley hosting Bradford Park Avenue in a derby clash at Nethermoor on Tuesday night.
Third-placed Harrogate Town welcome Histon tomorrow, with Avenue hosting AFC Telford.