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Hopkins and Kirkwood stand down

Matlock Town and their joint management duo of Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins agreed to part company by mutual consent on Sunday after their side's latest reverse in the EVO-STIK League's top flight.

Appointed in May 2016 as the successors to Mark Hume, the former Mickleover Sports managers stood down following talks with club officials in the wake of Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Rushall Olympic, a result that left the Gladiators third from bottom in the EVO-STIK League's Premier Division table.

The Chesterfield-based duo were crowd favourites as players at the DCJ Group Insurance Arena more than a decade ago before taking their first steps into management at the helm of Matlock's reserves. Before the appointment of Mark Atkins during the 2008-09 season, they also enjoyed a short spell as caretaker bosses at Causeway Lane.

In a joint statement released by the Gladiators confirming their departure, the pair, pictured, agreed it was the right course of action before thanking the Derbyshire club's fans, volunteers, officials and players for all their support over the years.

They said: “It’s been a very difficult conversation for us, but football is a results-driven business and this season has been far from good enough. After the wonderful season that we had last year, with the incredible FA trophy and FA cup runs and Derbyshire cup success, and a play off challenge which only ended in the last week of the season, this season has been difficult with several off field hurdles which the supporters don’t always know about or appreciate.

“Kirky and I have made plenty of mistakes this season, which we will analyse, dissect and learn from. It’s been our first disappointing season in our 10 years as joint managers, but we’ve certainly learned a lot from it, and after a break to recharge our batteries, we’ll be back stronger for it.

“Kirky and I would like to thank everybody who has supported us during our two years at the club. Not only the supporters who have been fantastic, and have continued to come in numbers, with attendances increasing by something like 40 per cent since we joined which is incredible."

He added: "Also, everybody else who make it such a wonderful club. The chairman and committee, the secretary, the Groundsman, the bar girls, the gatemen, and all the volunteers who are unbelievable. We’d also like to thank Coxy, Sol and muggger, who are all great people to have in your corner. We’d also like to thank the players and wish them all the best for the future. We thank you all again and look forward to seeing you all at some point.”

Matlock Town chairman Tom Wright said: “I would like to thank both Glen and Craig for their time at Matlock Town Football Club as joint managers. Last season they succeeded in taking us to the late stages of several cup competitions, including the final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup, and we finished a very respectable ninth in the table, giving our supporters one of the best seasons in recent years.

“This season we have seen mixed results, and both Glen and Craig will be the first to admit that things haven’t gone as well as expected. It has been a real pleasure working with them both over the past two years, and I know my colleagues on the management committee would like to wish them all the very best of luck for the future.”

Image courtesy of @Matlock_TownFC/Twitter

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Where next?

New hands at the helm on the way Majority shareholders and directors Steve Shorthouse and Craig Whincup are standing down at EVO-STIK League Goole at the end of the season.
Saturday's South Division action review Basford United took another step towards clinching the EVO-STIK League South title after beating nine-man Kidsgrove Athletic 2-0 at The Novus Stadium on Saturday, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

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