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'There was no warm-up gear and no physio': Callaghan steps down as Athlone boss

Aaron Callaghan has left Athlone after five months in charge, citing a lack of professionalism at the club.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

AARON CALLAGHAN HAS stepped down as manager of Athlone Town after just five months in charge.

Callaghan took charge of the First Division outfit in December, becoming their fifth manager in just over a year.

With Athlone currently rooted to the foot of the second tier having taken a single point from nine games, Callaghan confirmed to Off The Ball’s Jamie Moore that he had decided to resign from the role due to the lack of professional standards at the club. “The final straw”, as he put it, came during Athlone’s Leinster Senior Cup defeat to Shelbourne on Monday.

“Jamie, I’m gone from Athlone,” Callaghan told Moore in a text message. “Here is my comment:

“Changing a football club’s culture is one of the most difficult leadership challenges a manager incurs. That’s because the club’s structure is comprised of an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications, practices, attitudes and behaviours.

To raise the bar in any industry, you need to set professional standards and evolve with the competition. Somehow this message never landed.

“The players and staff have my utmost respect and I wish them every success.

The last straw was on Monday night when there was no warm-up gear and no physio.

Athlone Town confirmed in a statement that Terry Butler will take the reins on an interim basis, and attributed Callaghan’s decision to “personal reasons.”

“The board of Athlone Town AFC can today confirm with regret that Aaron Callaghan has stepped down as the club’s first team manager with immediate effect,” read the release.

“Aaron informed the board of his decision to leave due to personal reasons earlier this week.

“The board has reluctantly accepted Aaron’s decision to resign.

“Following his return to the club in December, Aaron worked tirelessly to make the first team competitive in the First Division.
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as everyone had hoped.

“The club would like to take this opportunity to thank Aaron and wish him every success in the future.

“In the interim Terry Butler, who has been part of the club’s current coaching staff since the start of the 2018 campaign, has agreed to take over as the club’s first team manager.”

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