THE manager of Henley Town Football Club has resigned after less than five months in charge — but has vowed to return.
Cyril Fairchild announced he was leaving this week due to work and family commitments.
He became the fourth boss at the club in just over a year when he replaced Roy Hanley at the end of last season.
Assistant manager Craig Hiscock and reserve team assistant Albie Stevenson — a former first team Henley boss — have taken over as joint caretaker managers.
Fairchild, a sales manager for a construction firm, said he hopes to return to the club after he has resolved some personal issues.
“I’ve resigned in the sense that I’ve left Henley but I will be back,” he said.
“It was a great opportunity for me to get a little bit higher but life changes.
“I haven’t just completely walked away but I need to do this and when I’m ready I will be back into it. It’s a massive shame but it’s not the end of the road.”
The 47-year-old left league rivals Woodley Town after five years because he believed the Red Kites had more potential due to superior facilities to move beyond the Hellenic League Division 1 East.
After finishing bottom of the league last season, Henley’s fortunes have improved and they are currently ninth in the table.
But Fairchild, who finished third last season with a Woodley side including many of the same players at Henley, said it had been a mixed start to the season because he had regularly been missing players. He added: “Players haven’t always been available through injuries and work and we got to a situation where I had six or seven players missing at games.
“I’ve had that situation before and dealt with it but work has been getting on top of me.
“Football was affecting my work because I was trying to spend too much time on it and something had to give.”
Fairchild, a former Woodley player, initially took a three-week break but eventually decided he could not return for the foreseeable future.
He said: “I can’t commit myself to football 110 per cent at the moment. I’ve been in the game for a long time and if I can’t give 110 per cent there’s no point doing something.
“I sat down with the chairman last weekend and said I needed a break from football. I need to take time out and sort work out, which comes before anything.
“The chairman, Chris Faulkner, was brilliant and said ‘why don’t you take a break, no matter how long it takes, but we want you back at Henley’.
“Craig is a great bloke and will take the team forward. I haven’t fallen out with him or anyone else.”
Fairchild believes the foundation work has been put in place at the club and hopes to be involved in its future.
He said: “I can’t give up football because I’m mad on it. It’s my life and I’ve put so much effort into getting to where I am so far and I want to continue.
“We’ve done so much work at Henley and we want to get it back on the map again. There’s a five-year plan where the chairman is trying to change the club from inside and out.
“It won’t happen overnight but we’re slowly getting there. The pitch is looking great and we want to compete at the highest level.
“I want to be part of that but at the moment I can’t for certain reasons.”
He cited the early season 4-2 win against league leaders AFC Hinksey as well as last week’s cup victories against Ascot United and Headington Amateurs as evidence of the Red Kites’ improvement.
“We’ve had two or three great results, which proves that we can beat anyone in the league when we have all our players available,” he said.
“I need to get my buzz back and work sorted out then hopefully get back to Henley when I can.
“It’s a great little club and there’s a lot of people who put a lot of effort into it, none of whom get paid for it.”
Fairchild thanked Faulkner and secretary Tony Kingston for their support and understanding of his circumstances.
Faulkner said: “It’s a shame because he’s a nice fella and was doing a good job.”
The chairman added that the club will continue to assess the situation but no appointments are planned.
“Craig and Albie are running the team at the moment and I’m happy,” he said.
“They’ve been doing a good job and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If they’re getting the results that’s fine by me.”