Garstang assistant boss Leon’s shock exit

Garstang Club FC Assistant player manager Leon Gierke who has left the club
Garstang Club FC Assistant player manager Leon Gierke who has left the club

Leon Gierke has left his role as assistant player-manager of Garstang Football Club.

Gierke’s sudden departure followed discussions with Garstang boss Iain Swan over the weekend.

He insisted there had been no fall-out with the former Lancaster City player and that outside commitments had forced the decision. Swan said: “It takes a lot of your time to manage an ambitious club like Garstang. Gierky had said that he wouldn’t be available for a couple of games before Christmas and that he didn’t anticipate things to be any better in the New Year.

“There has been no fall-out, the door will remain open for him to return as a player and I can only thank him for his help”.

Gierke re-signed for Garstang as a player-coach on a second spell when former manager Michael Stringfellow took the reign of the first team in 2011. He was enlisted as Iain Swan’s number two following Stringfellow’s exit eight months later.

A Garstang FC spokesman said: “Leon joined us in what was a second spell with the club. He teamed up as player coach with Michael Stringfellow, but couldn’t prevent us from being relegated. When Stringy left and Swanny was made manager he promptly appointed Leon as his assistant.

“Leon’s experience proved to be invaluable in the club’s promotion back to the West Lancs Premier League at the first attempt.

“We will miss Gierky’s input, but respect his decision. On behalf of everyone at Garstang Football Club we thank him for his contribution and wish him well for the future.”

Swan has been quick to respond to the gap in his team, installing Garstang player and youth team manager Dave Porter as his assistant. Swan added: “I have agreed with Dave that the appointment initially is temporary, but if all goes well as is anticipated then we will sit down in the New Year to confirm the situation. Dave is passionate about Garstang FC, which makes me think that he is the right person at the right time to re join the club in this role.”

The Riversiders’ visit to Fulwood Amateurs was called off on Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch. The reserves home fixture against Lostock St Gerards was also postponed.

On Saturday the first team travel to Blackpool Wren Rovers for the third round tie of the Lancashire Amateur Shield. kick-off 1.30pm. The reserves will entertain Wyre Villa at the Riverside, kick-off 2pm.