Budleigh manager explains why he simply had to stand down as the Robins’ boss

PUBLISHED: 19:00 11 December 2018

Budleigh at home to Honiton. Ref exsp 43 18TI 3413. Picture: Terry Ife

Budleigh at home to Honiton. Ref exsp 43 18TI 3413. Picture: Terry Ife

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Budleigh Salterton Football Club are seeking their fourth manager this year following the sad news that current first team boss Matt Hughes has had to stand down with immediate effect.

The new man at the helm at Budleigh Salterton Football Club, Matt Hughes. Picture CONTRIBUTEDThe new man at the helm at Budleigh Salterton Football Club, Matt Hughes. Picture CONTRIBUTED

Hughes, who returned to Greenway Lane earlier in the season, leaving his post of assistant to Town boss Kevin Hill to do so, has taken the decision to step away following a desperate battle to keep his dear wife Lucy alive after she suffered a cardiac arrest.

Indeed, Lucy only survived because of the supreme efforts of Hughes, who spent 20 minutes doing CPR on his stricken wife until the medics got to her and shocked her heart back to life.

He says: “It has been a very difficult week and one I hope we never have to endure again. Lucy’s cardiac arrest came out of the blue and I have since been told that my efforts saved her life.

“However, it was a terribly traumatic incident and one that will no doubt stay with me for the rest of my life.

“It’s fair to say I love my football and would never take such a decision as this to leave Budleigh lightly, but I love my wife more and need to devote my time to her.

“It’s a tough one – in a footballing sense – as I am left feeling very guilty and that I have let the people down. The committee and the players have been incredibly understanding and supportive. Unfortunately, I do not think that I am in the right place to give my best to the players or the club.

“They deserve someone who will give them their all and I am not someone who can do something half-hearted. I also want to do my best.”

As for his departure from Exmouth Town earlier in the campaign, he said: “Exmouth Town is a fantastic club and a place where I enjoyed my football immensely, both before I left for Barnstaple Town and when I came back with Hilly [Town boss, Kevin Hill].

“Kev is a brilliant manager and a first rate bloke; it was a pleasure to work with him and I felt we had a great relationship.

“It was a difficult decision to leave Exmouth, but I wanted to be my own man and I certainly wanted to try and help improve Budleigh.

“I felt that I was the right man to turn around the fortunes of the club as I hated seeing them in the position they were in.

“Although the league position may not have changed, we have more points and wins since I have taken charge.”

So, if things change, will we see Matt Hughes back in local football at some stage?

He replies: “I hope so, as I feel I have a lot still to offer to the game. I don’t believe I’m done with football and I don’t think football is done with me.

“There is definitely unfinished business there, but whether I will be able to commit to management fully, only time will tell.

“I’ve had lots of experiences in football and I may be able to use these in some capacity.”

As for his thoughts on the club he leaves behind, he says: “I have loved my time at Budleigh and it is a place I have always been welcomed with much warmth.

“I hope this continues and in the future, when I am able to, I will be at Greenway Lane to show support to the club and the players. As they say, once a Robin, always a Robin!”

So, what sort of shape is the Budleigh he is leaving behind? To this he answers: “I am extremely proud of the opportunity Budleigh gave me. It has been a fantastic honour to have been able to manage them and I want to thank the committee for showing faith in me.

“I hope, in my time at Greenway Lane, I did indeed repay that faith. I also want to thank my coaching staff who were brilliant for me. It is the players who I have the most praise for.

“They are a fantastic group and I hope they continue to fight for each other and continue what we started. We have picked up results in the league and the cup. We were building for the future and I was pleased to bring in players with SWPL experience and young players that are hungry to develop and improve. From that point of view I am the most disappointed – I believed in the project and where we were going.”

We wish Matt and his wife Lucy every good fortune going forward and hope that not only does she make a full recovery, but that Matt Hughes will one day return to the sport of football.

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