Clarke named new Portland boss

Saturday 10th October 2020

PORTLAND United have appointed Franklyn Clarke as their new manager.

Dorchester captain Clarke leaves the Magpies with immediate effect, taking with him centre-back Sam Poole as his assistant.

The duo replace Callum Brooks as boss, with Gary Bailey and Mark Carter having temporarily overseen playing action.

Clarke and Poole could also play for Portland this season.

The development leaves Dorchester without an official skipper.

Portland have accelerated a long-term plan to attract young talent to the club following a tumultuous start to the campaign.

Under Brooks, the islanders lost 14-1 to Poole in a friendly and have since lost 8-1 and 8-2 to Baffins and Fareham respectively amid a flurry of player exits.

Clarke and Poole join the club in time for tomorrow's clash with fellow strugglers Amesbury – both sides have just one point apiece.

In a statement, the Blues said: "PUFC are delighted to announce their new management team, manager Franklyn Clarke with Sam Poole, as assistant-manager.

"After a difficult start to the season the club decided that the time was right to put in place a longer term plan, focussing more on attracting the best young talent in the area, whilst retaining the current core of experienced players.

"The club therefore looked for a management team that shared this long term view. Franklyn and Sam fit this vision perfectly and the club are extremely excited about the youthful management duo, after being hugely impressed by their own long-term coaching and managerial ambitions.

"Franklyn and Sam bring a wealth of playing experience, having both won the Wessex League whilst playing together for Blackfield and Langley and both have played many games at a higher level, most recently for Wimborne and Dorchester.

"Both will also be available to play, as required, and add much needed experience on the pitch."

Interim chairman Gary Bailey said: "We believe that the time is right to look to the future and that our wonderful supporters will embrace a dynamic, energetic team who will run through a brick wall in the blue shirt.

"Clearly we are entering a transitional but exciting phase, as we rebuild and put in place the foundations to take the club forward once again.

"The average age of the side that played recently against a very experienced Portchester side was 20 years six months and even slightly younger when we played Christchurch on Tuesday.

"We are very fortunate to have had the experienced players to call on like Lewis (Whyton), Ryan (McKechnie), Alex (Halloran), Ben (Morris) and Josh (Williams), to play alongside these younger players.

"Clearly the message is that young players are getting a chance to play for Portland. Franklyn and Sam are keen to continue taking the club down this path."

Portland continued: "A significant part of this youthful transition will see the club put in place an under-18 team for next season to provide another valuable link in the club’s vision to attract the best young players in the area, whilst providing a very clear pathway for those players to progress within the club’s playing structure.

"The club will release more details about this exciting development in due course.

"The club would like to thank all of those who applied for the role and also Dorchester for their co-operation."

Meanwhile, Dorchester boss Leigh Robinson said the decision was "commonsensical".

He said: "Franklyn and Sam have been mulling over an offer to move into management for a few weeks and when they said their heart was more in coaching than playing then we reached a pretty quick and commonsensical conclusion.

"Naturally we only want people here whose 100 per cent focus is on playing football so we saw this as an opportunity to free up some budget in order to improve the squad in the coming weeks.

"We are working to change the culture at this club and install a winning mentality after far too many seasons losing matches.

"Simply put, we can’t have players here who are not fully focussed on achieving that and instead we will look to bring in players who are.”

Magpies' chairman Scott Symes said: “We thank both players for their contributions here and wish them both well as they step into management.”

“I know that there has been speculation around this news for a few days now and I appreciate that this can be frustrating for fans when there is no comment from the club.

"Our policy at the football club is that we will announce news as soon as we can and cannot comment on speculation.

"In this instance we had contracts we had to respect until such point as they were officially cancelled.”

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