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Cheltenham chairman speaks out amid unrest from fans after departure of Darrell Clarke

Cheltenham Town chairman David Bloxham speaks out amid unrest from his own club’s fans after the departure of Darrell Clarke.

Barnsley appointed Clarke as their new head coach on a two-year deal with the option of a further year, leaving Cheltenham and links up with Martin Devaney, who had recently signed a new deal as Barnsley’s assistant head coach having helped guide them in the League One playoffs this season.

Barnsley agreed compensation with Cheltenham, where he had a year left on his contract with Cheltenham saying that they had offered Clarke an extended deal with improved terms, however he wanted to leave.

Clarke couldn’t stop Cheltenham from going down, but he managed to improve results after his arrival, having failed to win or score in their opening 10 games and then took them 42 points from his 36 games in charge as they missed out on safety by two points.


DB: I mean, I think I’d like to start by acknowledging for everyone it has been quiet and I apologise for that in terms of, you know, information, but it’s been absolutely, wall to wall, horrendously busy as a result of the relegation. Clearly we were all desperately disappointed by the relegation, but as a direct result of that, there was a shed load of work to do. You know, we knew that we wanted to keep Darrell. We put a great offer to him. He’s now, as I think everybody will know, has decided to move on. He wants the challenge of League One football, but we’ve been working in terms of looking at how we move forward with replacements. There will be some changes, there’ll be some cuts, there’ll be some new ideas and, yeah, we move on, but, yeah, relegation disappointment disappointing and hopefully, you know, this is now the start of something new.

Interviewer: We’ll move on to more recent news. Obviously, as you mentioned today, Darrell is the part of the club and joined Barnsley. Can you tell us maybe a bit more about that?

DB: Yeah, well, I’ve had many meetings with Darrell since the end of the season, obviously straight after the Stevenage match and subsequently I’ve asked him what his intentions are. I think it’s been clear to me that he’s felt throughout that he wanted the challenge of League One football. And if I’m honest, I think that if we’d stayed up, you know, he may well have been sought after by other clubs. He wants to get a promotion from League One. That’s his aim and I wish him well in that. He’s done a great job for us. Us. But I don’t think he wants to be a League Two manager. We offered him a really good deal. He wasn’t what we say this. I’m sure he was the highest paid manager we’ve ever had in League One. As a League One manager, and he would have been the highest paid manager in League Two. We offered him an extended contract, a longer contract, more salary than the one that we signed back in October, September last year. But as I said, the challenge was one that he wanted rather than anything else. And he felt that he didn’t want to be in League Two on a budget which we could offer him. And I know he had offers from other League Two clubs which he didn’t want to take. It was the League One that he wanted. But, yeah, we’ve been working hard to keep him. But as you say today I got news that he’s going. That was confirmation of what I thought might happen. I wasn’t sure whether it would happen now or perhaps in October, and it’s happened now. So we start afresh and we appoint a new manager as quickly as we can.

Interviewer: And obviously, David, you mentioned appointing a new head coach. What comes next now? Is there a lot of change on the pitch and off the pitch as well? So I suppose the question really is, what’s the plan? What are the next steps?

DB: Yeah, well. And time to reset. Basically, we lost people. We need to replace people. Some new ideas, possibly slightly restructure. I want to revert back to the director of football. Wrong. In terms of what we’ve already done off the field. We need to improve commercially and we’ve appointed Linton [Brown] and I think that’s been announced on the club’s website. I think he’s a solid appointment. Who will help improve that side of things? From the football point of view, we’re imminently about to announce the appointment of a new director of football. And that particular person will be someone who is experienced and will help us a lot. And I would also add that before Darrell left, we did have discussions with him about a director of football. He thought it was a good idea for us to appoint the director of football. We looked at a number of applicants and the people that we are. The person that we are going to appoint is someone that was endorsed by Darrell. So I think that’s good. I think I’ve come in for a little bit of criticism from the fans forum in terms of people saying we haven’t got a plan. Of course we’ve got a plan. We’ve always had a plan. I think at the forum, what I said was, we haven’t got a written plan which is out there, but we’ve always had a plan. The last four or five years of success clearly demonstrates that the plan is clear in our minds as to how we do things, what we want to do, and we will continue with that plan and we will bring more success to this club. We’ve been successful over the last four or five years, last couple of years, been as successful as any, or at least the last three years, and we’ll return to that. So I’m confident that things will return to an upward trend. We suffered a relegation as a disappointment, but we’ll bounce back. We always do.

Interviewer: And just lastly, David, want to touch on ambition, the club. Ambition is a word that gets thrown around a lot in football. But that sort of been mentioned before. It’s been a competitive League One football club, obviously in League Two now. But is that still the aiming ambition of the club to be a competitive League one football club?

DB: Yeah, absolutely. think that’s realistic. I think I’ve said before in previous years that what I wanted us to become was an established League One club and that obviously means being competitive and that is the goal. Yes, we had a little bit of a setback. We’ve been relegated but being an established League One club is clearly within our reach. We’ve proved that by being in League One for three consecutive years on two occasions now and we can go back to that. Yeah, this is a bit of a setback. Of course it is and we’re all disappointed by that. But I’m confident that we will rebuild and reestablish ourselves. And not only that, obviously I want to work with everyone. I want to be collaborative. The trust have put forward some proposals. The Trust of course are part of the board. They’ve got a board member. They’re fully aware of what we do as a board because they’re part of it. We’ve had their document going to have meeting with them about that and discuss it and take on board ideas and together we will, if you like, come right back and stronger than ever. So I’m confident that, you know, over the coming seasons, this season and beyond that, we will rebuild and we will get back to where we want to be.

This is the Twitter reaction as Cheltenham chairman speaks out amid unrest from fans after the departure of Darrell Clarke…

“We’ve got a plan, we’ve always had a plan”
“No you haven’t”
“Yes we have, we just haven’t written it down”
Pretty much sums that up. Cheers Bloxxy baby.🍻

@Abi_ctfc: Would he like to outline this plan with supporters? Right now, it doesn’t feel like weve got one 😂

@Rob_McPhee_UK: The AIM is to be an established League 1 club. The PLAN would be how to achieve it. We all know the former but the latter……

@k1999utd: Wish we could’ve heard more on finances, considering the relegation and the losses announced not long ago.

@HenryCoke6: This plan should have been outlined some weeks ago. The acknowledgement of the Supporters Trust document is a bit late and an insult to fans. The breakdown between fans & board is a major one. He should consider his position & if truly cares about the club resign

@KeithIles: So why did it take until now to post a pre-recorded interview?

@Aym59_: I thought I read Bloxham’s departure….. too bad.

@thectfc_brummie: What a odd place to sit, it looked like he knocked on the door and said fancy a quick chat, I’ve got a plan it’s not written down but we have a plan, we’ll hire one of our old managers as DoF then we’ll hire his son to be head coach. Great plan

Bloxham 🤝 Starmer.
Having a plan and not telling anyone what it is.

@BennyHodge92: Watched it. Was a few minutes I won’t get back or fall for. Board lost my backing sticking with WE for far to long and cost us LG1. This board are clowns.

@chris78coleman: This is a hard watch but it does show why #ctfc is such a mess. Can’t resist a dig at the Trust. Can’t resist discussing Darrell’s wages. Can’t resist pretending there’s a plan when they’ve been so clear no plan ever existed. We are in deep trouble with this lot in charge #ctfc

@joshyt6: An awful statement by an inept chairman

@Hoppo101: Spoke well. Felt a little bit sorry for him. Interesting DC appointed Gary Johnson.

@Leo_ctfc: For all the hate he gets, I feel like this is a very good interview which can’t really be argued with, we were never going to keep Darrell because bigger clubs came in, don’t think Bloxham has said anything wrong in this at all and I back him going into the next season. #ctfc

@PeteClifford: “Of course we have a plan, but it’s not written down”. Sorry? How can you be sure everyone understands it? How can you track progress against it? How can you be held to account for its delivery? #ctfc @Robins_Report

@MattBadweather: “We’ve always had a plan just not a written plan” 🙈🤣 they’re called ideas if there’s no action plan written down to put in place Dave 🙄🙄 #ctfc

@PJones_23: “We have a business plan it’s just not writen down” fml 🤦

@itssherm: blokes a drip fair play

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