Ryan Cooper: why I had to resign as Eastbourne United manager

Ryan Cooper was appointed first team manager days before the start of the 2018-19 season and resigned after 16 league games
Ryan Cooper was appointed first team manager days before the start of the 2018-19 season and resigned after 16 league games

Ryan Cooper plans to kick-start his playing career after a hectic six months as manager of Southern Combination Premier basement team Eastbourne United.

Cooper, 24, resigned on Sunday following discussions with the club and their chairman Billy Wood and Aaron Hopkinson has since been appointed as the new manager.

“There was no argument or fall-out,” said Cooper. “We had different ideas on the immediate direction and a few different views on what would be best for the club.

“I live and die by my choices and my beliefs and I decided it would be best for all concerned to hand in my resignation.

“Billy Wood is a good guy and a good chairman and he dealt with the situation better than most would. I’m sure he will bring success but at this time, being the manager at Eastbourne United isn’t the right fit for me.

“I have built a team that I feel can avoid relegation. Players such as Chris Cumming Bart and Sam Willett are as good as you will get in this league. I just wish I had this squad at the start of the season.”

Cooper took over at the start of the campaign with the first team in total chaos. Previous manager Tobi Hutchinson resigned days before their first league match and there were barely enough players for a starting 11, let alone substitutes.

“It was a laughable situation to be honest. I turned up for a training session as a player and they asked if I wanted to be the manager.

“I knew it would be tough but I also didn’t want to see the first team fold. So I stood-up and took the responsibilty. I called in some players just to ensure we fulfilled our fixtures.

“There were times we were really struggling for players and on a few occasions I had to play in goal.

“We started to bring in players and the improvement had been there to see. The new manager will be in a better position than I was and I take a certain amount of pride in that.”

Cooper is keen to return to playing in the Southern Combination Premier and says he has an offer from a previous manager that he is keen to work with again .

“After the last six months, I just want to enjoy my football, without dealing with players’ problems or having to talk to the board. I wouldn’t say it has put me off management though. I love coaching but it has to be at the right time with the right club.

“For now, I just want to enjoy playing.”

United chairman Wood said, “Following the discussions, it is best for both parties to part ways and we wish Ryan nothing but the best in his future endeavours.

“On behalf of the committee I would like to show our appreciation to Ryan for stepping in.”

United host their tenants, Little Common on Friday, 7.45pm.