The current Covid19 pandemic has gripped a nation for nearly a year now, and looks set to destroy a second season in a row with uncertainty about whether the current season will resume. This plays havoc with a club like ours and the true costs will likely never be fully known or understood.

One such casualty, as a by-product of the impact of this pandemic is that the club have reluctantly accepted the resignation of Reserve Team Manager Travis Manning.  ‘Trav’ returned to the club this season with a remit to get our young reserves promoted, and sitting in second place when the season paused/stopped, looked set to achieve the ambition.

In a statement Travis said

‘It is with a heavy heart that I announce I have stepped down from my role at GYTFC and will be taking a break from football management. The reason is completely personal and not football related – in a nutshell I have struggled to cope with my personal life during lockdown, so feel a break is essential so I can focus on whats important in my life – my wife and 4 children, my business when it reopens, and my own personal health and well-being.  I wish everybody at the club the best of luck for the future and I look forward to one day returning to my club when the time is right’.

Travis runs a highly reputable hairdressing salon which has been significantly hit over the last year and provides us all a stark reminder that life outside of football is tough for many. Balancing all of that along with being a proactive member of the club and committed manager Is not easy. Travis has done a fantastic job on and off the field over the past season, all this whilst having personal challenges most people cannot comprehend to deal with. 

The dark side of social media will make of it what it will – many may cast scorn or make hurtful comments and have negative views or opinions on this news. We would remind people that there is more to life than football, and we support Trav’s decision at such a difficult time for him, and we hope that people can respect it for what it is, refrain from an unhelpful narrative, and celebrate with us the positive he brought to the club this season. 

The season so far has seen some terrific performances and results from one of the youngest sides in the league, with several players stepping up to train with the first team from the reserves & pushing for first team squad places. To date this season, 9 U18 players have featured on the pitch for the first team in friendlies and league games, with two players, Wesley Belsten and Kieran McCombe holding regular starting positions in the team. All from a manager who had previously been accused of not trusting young players! During this season his promotion and handling of these young players have been excellent, and a fantastic building block for the club to push on from, with many likely to make their impact in the first team in the next 12 months when football resumes. Thank you Travis for all your energy and work over the past season.

The club have been quick to act to fill the gap. Paul Blissett has been working alongside Travis with the squad in recent months and will continue in the role, assisted by Daniel ‘Nug’ Nolan who returns to the fold after a short break away from football.  He’s back refreshed and looking to build on the success of the side this season (so far!) With so many of the current reserves squad playing for both Bliss and Nug last season, it provides the club a fantastic set up to continue to develop this exciting crop of players, many of which will be looking for first team opportunities in the coming months.

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