Greens looking to the future after big exits

DEPARTING DUO: Soham are looking for a new boss after the departure of both Robbie Nightingale and  Dave Theobald               PICTURE: MARK WESTLEY
DEPARTING DUO: Soham are looking for a new boss after the departure of both Robbie Nightingale and Dave Theobald PICTURE: MARK WESTLEY

For those of a Soham Town Rangers persuasion, the last few days will not be forgotten in a hurry.

It was confirmed last Wednesday that one of their joint bosses — Robbie Nightingale — had accepted an offer to take over the reins at Cambridge City, for whom he made over 350 appearances as a player.

Further salt was rubbed into the wound when five members of the Soham squad, including longest-serving player Jordan Gent and leading goalscorer Ryan Sharman, opted to join Nightingale in the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division.

And to compound the misery, after overseeing Saturday’s 4-1 win at Romford, remaining manager Dave Theobald announced that he and Nightingale were to be reunited at City with immediate effect.

It has all been particularly tough news to absorb for chairman Stuart Hamilton, who appointed the duo 14 months ago.

“I am very disappointed to have lost both of them. Given their connection with Cambridge City, there was always a worry this would happen,” said Hamilton.

“Reluctantly, I understand the decision because there are strong feelings involved — good luck to them.

“After hearing Robbie was leaving, to then receive the phone calls from some of our top players to say they were moving on — that was absolutely gutting.

“It is quite hard to take, especially because nobody from City informed us what was going on.”

Attention has already switched to who will now fill the Julius Martin Lane vacancy, with the Ryman League Division One North club having already received a number of applications and more are expected before the weekend’s deadline.

There is no set criteria where experience is concerned — after all, neither Nightingale nor Theobald had any senior management background before taking the job.

That was in stark contrast to the man they replaced — Steve Fallon — who oversaw Histon’s rise to the Conference National and some memorable FA Cup runs.

Regardless of previous track record, Hamilton believes the successful candidate will be inheriting a group of players that are firmly committed to the Soham cause.

“When we scored the first goal at Romford, some of the players ran the length of the pitch to celebrate together,” he added.

“That shows the togetherness of the players that remain — it was like we had won the World Cup!

“We are open to who the next manager will be and there are no huge boundaries.

“Of course we want someone that knows the non-league scene and has the ability to recruit some players because, after the departures, we need some fresh faces.

“I have already had some very open conversations with some experienced managers, but also some experienced players who are looking to make a mark. The level of interest has been pleasing.”

Senior players Robbie Mason and Will Lawton have been asked to take control of first-team affairs in the meantime, starting with Saturday’s home game against Aveley (3pm).