Hawick seeking new boss once again as Aitchison quits

Kenny Aitchison, ex-Hawick manager, right
Kenny Aitchison, ex-Hawick manager, right

Hawick Royal Albert FC are looking for their fourth manager since February, with the new Lowland League football season only five weeks old.

Late last week, rookie team boss Kenny Aitchison announced he was leaving his post, along with coach Jamie Hamilton.

In 23-year-old Aitchison’s short-lived role as manager, the Royalists had lost their four opening league matches, conceding 23 goals in the process and scoring only one.

The sequence of terrible results continued on Saturday as they lost 6-0 at East Kilbride, keeping them anchored at the bottom of the table.

Prior to the sudden departure of Aitchison and Hamilton, Alan Sinclair, who had been second man to Aitchison, had quit after just two league games.

Aitchison has indicated that difficulty in attracting players to the club had been an influence on his decision – and the fact he seemed poised to be working with his dad Willie at Airdrie.

Meanwhile, Hawick Royal Albert secretary Dougie Purves said the club would push on and try to find a successor.

A statement on Friday on the club’s Facebook and Twitter pages said it was “saddened to accept” the resignation of manager Aitchison and first team coach Hamilton, and there would be “more details to follow”.

Meanwhile. Andy Gibson, who has been going under the title of technical support coach, is expected to be in charge of Hawick Royal Albert on Saturday for their home clash with Stirling University.

Dougie Purves explained the committee would be speaking tonight (Tuesday) at training in Edinburgh to the players and Andy Gibson, as Aitchison’s resignation had taken them by surprise and they had not had a chance to discuss the situation properly.

They had received a couple of enquiries about the managerial vacancy already, even though it had not been advertised, but they should have a better idea after this evening of the way ahead, added Purves, who said the club would keep everyone informed.

“Our main priority just now is to keep playing and keep a hold of the players who are signed, then speak to the guys,” said Purves, adding they would be talking to Gibson about his immediate future role and what sort of assistance would be required.

On the subject of the ‘revolving managerial door’ at Albert Park, Purves said it had noting to do with committee interference. “No manager has ever been refused anything by the committe – we do not interfere in the playing side at all,” he said. “That is left to the management team.”

In February, manager Dean Shanks, assistant manager Dean Robertson and coach Scott McKenzie all resigned.

A new managerial team of Kevin Milne and Grant Scott was then appointed but, four months later, they opted out of their positions, and Aitchison took over.

Describing the past week as “surreal”, Aitchison had apparently stated he did not throw in the towel because of the bad losing streak – his reason was a possible job offer.

He had recently been helping out full-time – along with assistant Hamilton – with coaching at Airdrie, where Kenny’s dad Willie was head coach.

Employment there had looked likely – but then Willie was controversially sacked at the weekend, shortly after a derby win over Albion Rovers. It was claimed that Kenny and his assistant, despite not being properly registered with the club, had taken too active a part in the game – although they were watching from the stand, not the technical area, and had only very brief discussions with Willie.

Regarding Hawick, Kenny added that problems recruiting players who were willing to play in the Lowland League, and a lack of preparedness and quality among the squad for the new season, had been among his reasons for quitting.

Hawick RA had virtually no signed players during the close season, he said, and he was spending a lot of time trying to enlist players and organise training sessions, instead of coaching, which he felt he was best at.

He had looked further afield towards Edinburgh to entice more players, but the close-season timing was not ideal, he added.

Kenny stressed the committee had given him free rein to do what he wanted and the board members had been very supportive.

“There were no signed contracts until the summer, and that’s what shot the club in the foot,” he added.