Former Edinburgh City boss Gary Jardine had been thinking about steeping down for several weeks before making the decision to resign following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Stenhousemuir.
Jardine, who until Saturday was the longest serving manager in the SPFL, announced his departure shortly after full-time and leaves City second bottom of the Ladbrokes League Two table.
It wasn’t a decision based on results, however, and Jardine admitted he found the job difficult following changes the club has gone through since winning promotion to the SPFL.
“I’d been mulling it over for the last few weeks,” he told the Evening News. “Perhaps the couple of wins maybe gave me a bit of fresh impetus, but it was nothing to do with results.
“The club’s come an awful long way. I’d been there for 15 years as a player, coach and manager and every year, certainly in terms of managing, we’ve always just looked for continual improvement. I’ve been able to put my own stamp on and put the building blocks in place to get the success we’ve had. That structure’s come to fruition over the last three years and we achieved something great that we can all be proud of.
“More recently it’s been more difficult. Obviously with the step up to League Two, the club needed to change the way it worked and I found it difficult working with some of the changes that had been put in place. It’s not changes that are wrong or bad or anything, it’s more case of that I’ve always looked for continuous improvement and never based it around one or two results. When you lose games, similar to what we did last season, it does put pressure on an awful lot of people.”
Jardine also admitted that on reflection, moving on at the end of last season may have been better. “It’s all about relationships,” he said. “On the pitch we’ve had a turn over of probably 22 players over the last 12 months and it was always going to take us time to gel the relationships on the park. Off the park, the new chairman’s come in doing things his way. I had a fantastic, unbelievable relationship with the last chairman, and this chairman’s backed me in terms of bringing players in and stuff.
“Perhaps, the right time would have been to move on at the end of last season or the start of this season to allow somebody to come in fresh and work with the new board.”
Aside from the obvious highlight of an historic promotion to the SPFL, Jardine leaves with a wealth of good memories. “When I took over, we were second bottom of the East of Scotland, although we had lots of games in hand” he recalled. “I had a great platform and grounding with the previous two managers, the Stevens brothers, and the amount of players that have come and gone has been huge, but every single one of them have bought in to what I’ve done.
“It’s been a club that’s been unique in the way it’s worked. I’ve always been one for doing it my way and not the way it’s always been done, because that’s not always the right way. I think with that stability has come success. It’s been one hell of a journey, and from the old committee and the new committee, I’ve a lot to be thankful for. Even last year, the backing I got despite the run at the start of the season – they were proved right to keep me on then. We went on to achieve what was success in terms of coming from not winning a game for three months.
“There’s been so many things that have been fantastic over the last eight years, so I‘ll focus on that and take away some great memories.”
As for immediate plans, spending time with his children is the first priority although a return to football somewhere is inevitable. “My wife’s been fantastic over the last eight years especially,” Jardine explained. “What she’s had to put up with has been unbelievable. I’ve got three girls who love spending time with me so they’ll get a bit of attention, but I love the game, so we’ll see what comes up.”