Sacked boss challenges Fareham owners to step up

Steve Stone. Picture: Paul Jacobs (151606-9)
Steve Stone. Picture: Paul Jacobs (151606-9)
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Departing manager Steve Stone reckons progress will be impossible at Fareham Town until the owners take a greater interest.

Stone was sacked after the Reds suffered a 4-2 Wessex League premier division defeat against Horndean at Cams Alders on Saturday.

Conor Duffin struck twice for Horndean against Fareham. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170051-4)

Conor Duffin struck twice for Horndean against Fareham. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170051-4)

The result left Fareham stranded at the foot of the table and frustrations boiled over after the final whistle.

Assistant boss Karl Watson made his feelings known – upsetting vice-chairman Dave Munday.

Stone was then given an ultimatum which led to his sacking.

‘Karl is a passionate guy and what he said was not wrong,’ said Stone.

‘Maybe they didn’t like the way he said it and felt it was unacceptable.

‘I was told to sack him or resign but I wasn’t prepared to do either.

‘You don’t sack someone who has put as much work in as my assistant as Karl. He even gave up a day’s work because we were short of keeper cover.

‘Then the vice-chairman came back and told me we had both been sacked.

‘It is a shame because for the last two years we have managed to keep the club up under the most difficult of circumstances. I am convinced we would have kept them up again this season. Four new players have just come in and we still have games in hand on our rivals.

The Reds – playing their first game in more than three weeks – fell behind to two early Connor Duffin goals.

Harry Weeks pulled one back at the start of the second period but a defensive error let Sam Smart to restore the Deans’ two-goal lead.

Smart then scored direct from a corner before Liam Kimber grabbed a late consolation for the hosts.

The result left Fareham propping up the table – a point adrift of nearest rivals Verwood Town.

Stone is surprised his sacking happened now.

He said: ‘The vice-chairman is quite within his rights – but I thought he would have done it earlier when we lost seven games on the trot.

‘He is the mouthpiece for the owners, the Ralls Group.

‘I have never met the owners and I don’t think they have ever been to a game.

‘If they sat in my front room at home I wouldn’t recognise them.

‘The club is a sleeping giant but it won’t move forward until someone takes more interest.’

Secretary Paul Proctor revealed discussions are taking place regarding a new manager.

‘We would like to thank Steve for all his hard work at the club,’ he said.

‘He has been working with both hands tied behind his back.

‘We want to try and get something sorted out before our next game at Amesbury on Tuesday.’