25th September 2016
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Mystery as football managers leave after just a year

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Shock waves were felt in senior football circles this week after county team managers Alan Graham (left) and John Scott Christie both resigned. Photo: Kevin Jones

Shock waves were felt in senior football circles this week after county team managers Alan Graham (left) and John Scott Christie both resigned. Photo: Kevin Jones

The management of Shetland’s senior football team has resigned, but mystery surrounds the reasons for the split days after the news emerged.

Only assistant coach Kevin Main has agreed to remain in his post to help the Shetland team through their first round North Caledonian League cup fixture against St Duthus on 10th September.

Main will also have the assistance of former Shetland boss Niall Bristow for this short-term period.

The departure of Shetland co-managers John Scott Christie, Alan Graham and their assistants Main and Craig Dinwoodie comes only a year after the quartet replaced Bristow as the Shetland gaffer and follows mixed results for the county side.

Christie refused to discuss the reasons for their mass resignation but told this newspaper that the management team had been left with “no option” but to hand in its papers.

He added: “We are very hugely disappointed. We signed up for four years and clearly wanted to fulfil that but we felt that we had no other option but that it was time for us to go.

“Kevin Main has agreed that he will stay till the fixture is played before resigning and he is a first class guy for the team.”

Christie and Graham had been expected to draft a resignation letter on Tuesday night, although Shetland Football Association (SFA) chairman Magnus Flaws said that he had not received it on Wednesday evening.

The management bombshell was to be the main topic of discussion at the monthly meeting of the SFA last night.

Flaws added: “This came absolutely, totally out of the blue. John Scott was at the last meeting and there were no complaints.”

Flaws said that he was completely at a loss as to the cause of the resignations and that no reasons had been intimated to the SFA. He said that suggestions that there had been changes to SFA funding of the county side were completely inaccurate.

He added: “Clearly we [the SFA] have an interest in making sure that there is a Shetland team there to compete. Shetland FC is committed to playing two cup games and in the inter-island games next year. We advertised for the last managers and we will be advertising again.

“Kevin Main is looking after the team and his is at liberty to take in anyone he wants to help him do that. Niall has the experience and if Kevin wants to call on that, that is fine. He will need some help as the game is only a week and a half away.”

Bristow said that he had been delighted to be invited to help prepare the Shetland team but emphasised that it would only be until the cup game was over and he was only acting as an assistant to Main.

Bristow said he would be at training on Wednesday and next weekend but would not be in Tain for the cup match owing to other committments.

AboutPeter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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