‘Something was not quite right’ – AFC Portchester chairman Paul Kelly on his decision to sack Mick Catlin and Lee Molyneaux

AFC Portchester chairman Paul Kelly admits sacking Mick Catlin and his assistant Lee Molyneaux was one of the hardest things he has had to do.

Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 4:02 pm
AFC Portchester chairman Paul Kelly. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Kelly wielded the axe on Monday night, two days after the Royals had suffered a shock 2-1 home loss to Brockenhurst in the Wessex League Premier Division.

'More than anything I wanted them to succeed, but something was not quite right,' Kelly said.

'It upset me to have to do it because they are great guys.

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'The whole thing has been mentally draining.

'They both tried really hard and gave it their best shot but things didn't work out as expected.

'It wasn't a personal decision but a football one and I have to do what I feel is right for the club.’

Catlin arrived at Portchester in January 2018, brought in as joint manager by his good friend Ian Saunders.

After Saunders had left the following November, Catlin took the job on his own.

He appointed Molyneaux as his assistant within a week of the former Hawks defender leaving his role as Gosport Borough boss in the summer.

'My job as chairman now is to try and find a successor as soon as possible,’ said Kelly.

'The buck stops with me.

'There are people out there locally who I admire.

'I have no timescale and my priority is to make sure that no rash decisions are made.

'For my own personal pride, I want to get this appointment right.

'There are some quality people around and I will look very carefully at all the applications I receive.'

Kelly acted decisively after the Royals suffered another inconsistent start to a season.

In 2018/19 they won five and lost five of their opening 12 league games, while last season they lost two of their first three and were always playing catch up after that.

This season, they won four of their first five but have lost their last three to Lymington, Cowes and Brockenhurst.

Though Lymington have won all their games so far, Cowes and Brock are in the lower half of the Wessex top flight.

Back in August 2019, Kelly told The News he was getting frustrated at a lack of a serious promotion challenge.

After a 4-1 loss at Alresford, he said: 'This is the fourth or fifth season when I have been confident that we would get promoted at the start.

'For some reason, though, we haven't been able to get it right on the pitch.

'Maybe I have to question my judgement and consider whether it is time for me to step aside.

'It is not something that I want to do.

'All I want is the best for the club.’

Portchester are next in action in the Wessex Premier League against Blackfield & Langley at the Crest Finance Stadium on Saturday.

They will be aiming to avoid a fifth successive defeat in all competitions and a fourth consecutive league loss.