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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Hunt for new coach begins as Gailer is ‘relieved of duties’

WHITEHAVEN hope to appoint a new head coach quickly so he can start to build for the club’s new campaign in the second tier after Don Gailer was relieved of his coaching duties this week.

sm dongailerquit
Sacked: Gailer

The Recre post will be advertised in the RL press on Monday, and a coach with a proven track record at Championship level is seen as ideal.

The job is likely to prove popular with prospective coaches, after Gailer led the team to promotion this year.

Chairman Ralph Calvin said: “We need to start recruiting players for next season and don’t want to be in the same situation as last year, where the board were picking the players we signed.

“We need a coach who will recommend players and then try to sign them. Ideally, the coach will be British-based, but we have an open mind until we see who applies.”

While Haven will not make widespread signings before the new boss is in place, it is understood they will continue to pinpoint some key potential new talent, so as not to be left trailing by rival clubs.

Gailer arrived at the Recre in December last year, after the start of pre-season training, which meant most of his squad by necessity was already in place. he Aussie’s former assistants, Dave Smith, Mark Ryan and Les Ashe, plus on-field general Lee Doran, will take charge for Haven’s final game of the league season, against visitors North Wales Crusaders on Sunday (3pm).

“We are still hoping for a good run in the play-offs,” added Calvin, who on Tuesday phoned Gailer to break the news he had been sidelined while the coach was on a short family break in Paris.

The new contract offer, made to Gailer two weeks ago, the day after securing promotion in his first season in charge, was also withdrawn. It is understood the coach did not sign the contract when first offered as he was unhappy the club was keen to retain one senior player he wished to ditch.

And he did not believe players based outside the county were being asked to train often enough with Cumbria-based team-mates to meet Championship requirements next term.

The club last week indicated to the Aussie that they were not prepared to move their position. As a result he was planning to step down at the end of the season. But he was highly-critical of his team after their 41-26 defeat at London Skolars on Friday night.

The squad, coaches and staff stayed in London for Saturday’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley, and it is believed there was disquiet behind the scenes with some players unhappy at the atmosphere in the ranks.

Calvin said: “After the weekend in London it became apparent there was a rift between the players and coaching staff. It was going to be unworkable. The directors spoke about it and decided that in the best interests of everyone we withdraw the contract offer and relieve Don of his duties.

“I’m sorry it had to end this way, but we couldn’t see any way ahead. I wish Don all the best for the future.”

Meanwhile, ex-Haven skipper Gary Broadbent is to be inducted in to the club’s Hall of Fame. The Cumbrian full-back joined Haven in 2003 and was named in the NL1 Dream Team at the end of his first season. He went on to spend six seasons at the Recre and was widely regarded as the club’s greatest modern day full-back. But news of his induction, following a vote of the club’s Vice Presidents’ group, came as a shock to him.

“It came out of the blue, totally unexpected. But it was a nice surprise. I told my wife and she was as shocked as me. I had a fantastic time up there and great support from everyone. We were made so welcome by the players, wives and girlfriends,” said Broadbent, who spoke of his respect for the likes of Des Byrne, Ron Batty and Kenny Shepherd, who were key off-field figures at the Recre during successful Broadbent’s stint at the club.

He warned it would be a big step up for Haven in the Championship next term and believes it important they get the mix right between homegrown and travelling players.

“It’s hard because you want the best locals but if they’re not good enough you have to bring in a few travellers,” he added. “It’s important you look at quality, not so much quantity, because you know other clubs have it.

“When I was at the club we had Mick Nanyn, John Duffy, Steve Maden and Rob Jackson, then there was Steve Trindall. They all brought quality to the team. As long as you get the balance right you won’t be far off.”

Broadbent will be inducted at a Vice Presidents’ evening on Friday, September 28. Heavyweight duo Paul Grimes and Jim Mills will be special guests. Tickets cost £5 for VPs and £10 for guests, including pie and peas.

This week’s Pride of Five £100 winners are: B Clarkson, Green Moor Road, Egremont, with ticket number 1,571; Carol France, Sandringham Avenue, Whitehaven, 1,428; M Nicholson, Glenridding Walk, Richmond, 385; Mrs Rowe, Swallow Hill, Distington, 693; M Leadbetter, Sneckyeat Road, Hensingham, 897.

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