BY CHRIS MCNULTY
PETER Hutton has tendered his resignation as manager of Finn Harps.
Hutton informed the players of his decision around and hour-and-a-half before tonight’s game against Athlone Town in Ballybofey.
There had been rumblings all week about the future of the Derry native, who says he has stepped down as he feels ‘it is no longer possible for me to fulfil this role to the level at which I feel is required’.
It is understood that Hutton had been approached by club representatives earlier in the week about his position.
Hutton was to serve the third of a three-game touchline ban at next weekend’s clash in Salthill, the final game of the season.
“Having the suspension makes the input ineffective, so there is no point in delaying it any further,” Hutton said.
“The players, at this stage of the season, want to know what is happening as much as anything.
“I have been honest with them from day one and I want to continue being honest with them.”
Hutton came to Harps alongside then Director of Football Felix Healy in May 2011, with Hutton having had sole charge since Healy’s resignation a year later in May 2012.
In a prepared 490-word statement issued to the media after tonight’s 3-2 win, Hutton expressed his thanks to club members Joey O’Leary, Denise O’Neill, Sean Quinn and Seamus Gallagher, but added that ‘their desire and determination to see this club reach its potential was unfortunately not matched by others’.
Hutton said that he ‘probably underestimated the task at hand’.
2013 started with promise before Harps slumped and went on a nine-game streak without a win.
Prior to tonight’s 3-2 win against Athlone, Harps had taken just eight points from a possible 45 in their last 15 games.
Hutton said that, having considered things lately that he ‘was going at the end of the season’, but has fast-tracked his resignation leaving Harps without a manager once more.
Sean McGowan will take charge of first-team affairs for the final game of the season, away to Salthill Devon next Saturday night.
Harps also look set to be on the lookout for a new Chairman after Joey O’Leary indicated that he is unlikely to run for a third term in the hotseat.
PETER HUTTON’S STATEMENT IN FULL
I wish to confirm that I am resigning from my post as First Team Manager of Finn harps FC with immediate effect. This is not a decision I have take lightly and have given it great consideration. Due to recent developments I believe that it is no longer possible for me to fulfil this role to the level at which I feel is required.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Finn Harps FC for affording me my first managerial position; it has been a fantastic learning curve from which I have learned a great deal both on and off the field.
I took great satisfaction from the team’s performances in reaching the FAI Cup quarter finals, a feat not achieved in ten years and, but for an awful decision by the officials, could now be playing in a semi-final this very weekend. I am however disappointed more than anyone with how the season has evolved and if totally honest probably underestimated the task at hand. I did though thoroughly enjoy my time at Harps and met some great people and hope that some day in the near future they get to enjoy the success their loyalty and passion for the club deserves.
I wish to particularly thank Joey O’Leary and Denise O’Neill, for whom I have great admiration. Their dedication and unwavering commitment to Finn Harps FC was one of the fundamental reasons as to why I decided to take up the post originally. Seamus Gallagher and Sean Quinn I thank also for their continued support throughout my tenure. The aforementioned people, I believe, are the lifeblood of this club and their desire and determination to see this club reach its potential was unfortunately not matched by others. I genuinely hope that whoever follows me will be given the necessary resources both on and off the field to build this club and not just a team.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Finn Harps and in particular working with the players, to all of them, past and present, I thank for their dedication and commitment for little, if no reward. Also I’d like to thank the entire backroom team of Sean McGowan, Declan McIntyre, Mickey McGlynn, Daniel Nolan, Paddy Foy and not forgetting Mr Finn Harps, Terence Murray. I’d like to wish Tommy Canning good luck with the rest of the U-19 campaign with some very talented young players.
I can only hope now that the two-year slog of developing the recently launched Finn Harps Youth Development Programme, of which I personally invested considerable time and effort in, and take great pride from, is continued in the manner as set out.
Overall, I have enjoyed my Finn Harps experience and genuinely wish the club well in the future and whilst I would naturally have liked to depart on a more positive note I will leave with my integrity fully intact.
All the best,