Harrogate League: Wetherby searching for new boss after David Cope resigns

Wetherby Athletic Reserves boss Dave Cope
Wetherby Athletic Reserves boss Dave Cope

Wetherby Athletic’s second team have been left managerless following the dramatic exit of boss David Cope.

Cope walked out of the Reserve team set-up following their West Riding County Trophy exit to Burley Trojans on Saturday, which saw his side take to the field with only 10 men.

Despite the man disadvantage, Athletic produced a solid display but an injury forced them down to nine and they eventually went out 4-3.

Athletic chairman Angus Taylor said: “He has put his heart and soul into it but it’s a difficult time to get players out onto a pitch.

“We have to carry on with business as normal and thank him for everything he has done.

“He will still be involved in the club but he has found the day to day managing of the team quite hard.”

Brian Blewitt is likely to take charge of Wetherby Athletic A on Saturday

Brian Blewitt is likely to take charge of Wetherby Athletic A on Saturday

The former Eccleshill United and Bardsey reserve team manager had joined Wetherby in the summer to lead the club’s new adventure in the Galaxy Lancashire League, removing the champions from the West Yorkshire Alliance League.

But the club was forced to pull out of the development league after only two matches due to a dispute over pitches with the league.

The league were unable to produce referees for Saturday matches, leaving Athletic with an expensive option of hiring floodlit pitches to play home games.

Taylor added: “It was David’s ambitions that he wanted to be in that Galaxy League. That’s what he is used to and it’s about developing at that standard of football.

“We just couldn’t do it because of the floodlight issues. We have tried to show ambition and in hindsight, it hasn’t worked. But we will rebuild and look to go in a different league next season.”

After pulling out of the league, the reserve side amalgamated with the club’s third team in the Harrogate and District League.

Athletic made a promising start under Cope’s leadership and are fourth in the Premier with five wins in eight games.

Club stalwart and player/assistant manager Brian Blewitt is expected to lead the team this Saturday.

Taylor was unsure when a new manager will be appointed.

“The key is stability. We want to see that within the club and we want to get the guys together and make sure we get a full team out on Saturday.

“What we choose to do from there, it’s a bit early to say. We will speak to the players and let them decide what they want.”