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 the job anyway !
The former Great Britain international who made his name in hockey with East Grinstead and Reading explained that: “both work and family life are increasingly taking over more time, particularly at Seaford College (Petworth), where my role is expanding and will require more commitment from the scheduled beginning of the autumn term in September.
“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 during my time as well as this group regarding the passion, time and commitment that all have shown during my time as Fareham HC coach.
“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, who scraped into a powerful National South Division after winning the 2019/20 promotion play-off, finished bottom of the pile this term, winning only two matches against Brighton & Hove and Teddington. They were badly hit by injury before the campaign even began.
“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,” reflected FHC chairman Colin Bradbury.
“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 benefited 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.
“So as Ben moves onto this new chapter in his life, he 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."
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