Barnes steps down as Fareham coach – but he would have left even if the club had avoided relegation

Ben Barnes. Photo by Dave HainesBen Barnes. Photo by Dave Haines
Ben Barnes. Photo by Dave Haines | JPIMedia
Ben Barnes has stepped down as Fareham’s hockey coach after seven seasons with the recently relegated National League South club – but stresses he was going to quit anyway!

The former Great Britain international, who made his name in hockey with East Grinstead and Reading, said ‘both work and family life are increasingly taking over more time’

His role at Petworth-based Seaford College ‘is expanding and will require more commitment from the scheduled beginning of the autumn term in September.

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“This past season I found it hard to juggle both as well as keeping family happy with being away all of the weekend basically.

Fareham staying up or not, my decision would have been the same.

‘I think also after seven seasons it is time for a different voice and for someone else to inject a new direction and enthusiasm into the role that needs 100 per cent attention and commitment as per the playing group.

‘There are many to thank as well as this group regarding the passion, time and commitment that all have shown during my time as Fareham coach.

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‘All of the players who have pulled the shirt on have been great to work with and it has been a privilege to have been part of your hockey career, whether it be for all or some of those seven seasons or even just this last one.

‘The management support both on the touchline and in the club itself has been remarkable.

‘We have all shared in the highs and lows during this time and it has been quite a journey. I wish everyone at the club continued success when the lockdown finally ends.’

Fareham still had two games of the National League 1 South season left when 2019/20 was halted due to Covid-19. But they were seven points adrift at the foot of the table, having tasted victory just twice in 16 games, and unable to catch second-bottom Teddington

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Fareham chairman Colin Bradbury said: ‘Ben leaves us with nothing but good wishes from all at Fareham, in particular his commitment, enthusiasm and expertise he has brought to his role.

“When Ben arrived, he quickly bought into our family culture and both what we wanted to achieve and most importantly how we wanted to achieve it.

“I think it is fair to say that all the players he has coached over the last seven years have benefitted but, in particular, to see the development of young players at the club has been rewarding and great to watch.

‘It is in the development of young talent that Ben leaves his greatest legacy.

‘Ben goes with our thanks and good wishes. We intend to retain strong links with him and hope he will enjoy watching a few games when time permits with his many friends at Fareham.’