DANE Bunney says he might have called time on local football for good after his recent departure from Bodmin Town.
Bunney informed Bodmin Town officials a fortnight ago that he was standing down as manager of the South West Peninsula League Premier West club after their match at Dobwalls the following night, which they subsequently lost 4-2.
Bunney took over in the Priory Park hot seat at the beginning of last October when Matt Hayden stepped down, and he guided them to 12th place in the final table.
But with new investment arriving at the club during the summer, and a whole host of new signings, Bodmin are hoping for a much higher finish this time around.
It has been a tough summer for Bunney, trying to bring players into the club, and he recently said it had been his “most difficult pre-season ever”, with “players who are just plain rude, ones who don’t answer you, and ones that want to know what you are going to offer them, and then you never hear from them again because they take that offer somewhere else, so you are kind of battling against everything, but the hardest bit of pre-season has been those people who don’t really show you any respect at all”.
It has left Bunney feeling disillusioned with local football, and combined with a desire to spend more time with his family, he decided to step down, despite having spent so many hours building the squad.
In a very candid interview, Bunney said: “It wasn’t a hard decision in the end because it had been building up and building up for a few weeks, and by the time I had got to the point of making the actual decision, it was quite an easy one.
“I just felt I had got to the point where I just had to step away.
“Wanting to spend more time with the family is a big part of it.
“And I have just done this for so long now (he has been in football management in some sort of capacity for 12 years), you just kind of reach the point where, when I was at football, I was just simply thinking about being in other places.
“To be fair, when I was at the game itself it wasn’t too bad, but I was getting to the point where I was dreading going, and just dreading all the prep work.
“The cycle from match to match was just becoming harder and harder because you know you don’t want to be there.”
"I just feel like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
Bunney said the final straw had been the recent game at Holsworthy, which finished in a 3-0 defeat, when “one player didn’t show up at all, and during the second half one of the subs told me they had booked a holiday in Italy so weren’t available for the next two games, and I just thought ‘what am I doing here?’
“You put everything into it, and I don’t think any manager can expect the players to have the same level of commitment, because they don’t and never will, but they still have to reach a certain level of commitment, and I just think the players of today fall short of that.
“That isn’t the reason I am finishing, but it all adds up and it all contributes.”
Bunney, who was manager of Saltash United before his time at Bodmin, added: “I think local football is approaching a huge watershed moment.
“I just don’t think the player commitment is there, and even in the last couple of years, there seems to have been a massive change, even down to some of the people running the football clubs, like some of the managers you have to deal with, they are not the same class of manager that used to be around, in terms of the types of personalities and the characters.
"And as the standard on the pitch is dropping, I think the standard off the pitch is dropping too.
“I just think football as a whole has gone downhill, and I don’t think it is going to stop any time soon, and I think it is going to get worse.
“So once you chuck all that into the pot, that’s what you get, and I don’t think I will be back.
“I think that’s me done with local football now to be honest with you, and I think you are on a hiding to nothing.”