Kirkley & Pakefield on the lookout for boss after Paul Tong sacking
- Credit: IAN BURT
Paul Tong admitted to being 'bitterly disappointed' after being sacked by Kirkley & Pakefield.
The Royals decided to dispense with the veteran manager in the wake of Saturday's win at Stanway Rovers and expect to make an announcement over his replacement 'in the next few days'.
Tong has led the Walmer Road club to two mid-table finishes after replacing Jon Reynolds but was informed they are now looking to go in a different direction.
The former Great Yarmouth Town boss said the news had come as a shock and said he was hoping to lead the club forward in the 2013/14 Thurlow Nunn Premier Division campaign.
'I was bitterly disappointed to find out I'd been sacked and to be honest I hadn't seen it coming,' he said. 'But you have to respect the decision as they want to go in a different direction.
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'I've had a great time with the players there and the club has become a big part of my life – I will really miss the people there.
'I've made a lot of friends, and probably a lot of enemies as well! In management you know you are going to get the sack one day but I didn't expect it at this point.'
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Tong believes he has left the club in a healthy state and genuinely hopes his replacement is able to build on the work he has carried out over the past two campaigns in which he has led the Royals to mid-table finishes.
A number of youngsters have been blooded into the first team this season and Tong hopes the new boss can build on that legacy.
'It's disappointing not to have the chance to take the club forward because I believe we made some good progress during my time there,' he said. 'A lot of things are in place for the club to kick on and the new manager will get the benefit of that.
'I'm sure whoever comes in will be able to take the club forward and I think the future is looking bright for them.
'The decision has been made now and I don't bear any malice to anyone at the club as a result. They want to go in a different direction and that's their choice.'
Tong would like to stay in local football next season but isn't willing to make any quickfire decisions over his future.
He wants to take his time before considering his next move but, given his experience of the Eastern Counties leagues, there are likely to be clubs interested in his services.
'It will take a little time to get over it but you have to move on,' he added.
'I have really enjoyed working with them and local football has been a big part of my life for the last 25 years.
'If something else comes along then I will have a look at it but I might be getting under my wife's feet every Saturday afternoon from next season.'