by Kirsty Smyth
Coldstream’s search for a new management team is under way following Mark Lamb’s decision to stand down at the end of the season. And with chairman Jim McLean also handing in his resignation, the club is facing a major turnover of key personnel.
Coldstream secretary and acting chair Allan Wilson said potential replacements for Lamb had not yet been discussed, but with the committee understood to favour a candidate who can reverse the departure of so many local players, it is likely that Duns Amateurs manager Neil Oliver and Eyemouth United boss Carl Hudson will make it onto the shortlist.
Wilson said: “The club has been very supportive of the management team, although results have not been as good as we would have hoped for. They worked hard to turn it around, but we are aware that almost 95 per cent of our players are Edinburgh-based, and Coldstream is not the easiest places to travel to.
“Both Mark Lamb and Jim Rae are business men and the travelling was having an adverse effect for them. Obviously, we will have to start looking for a management team for the new season, but at this moment nothing has been decided.”
Speaking to The Berwickshire News, Lamb confirmed travelling time was the main factor behind his decision to leave Home Park at the end of the season and look for a new club nearer to home. Assistant manager Jim Rae will also be leaving the struggling First Division club.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here and I’ll be sad to go, but its purely down to the travelling,” Lamb explained. “I live in Peebles but I have to go up to Edinburgh to pick up players, so a home game means a 140-mile round trip for me.”
The former Peebles and Spartans juniors manager took over from Peter McNulty at Home Park in February 2010 when the team were rock bottom of the Premier Division. Unable to avoid the drop, he made wholesale changes last summer in a bid to build a squad capable of bouncing straight back up at the first attempt.
Josh Hebdon and Michael Evans, who is out injured for the rest of the season, are now the only local players left in a first-team squad that has been overhauled.
Most of the Borders players moved on and a number of Edinburgh-based replacements were brought in, but Coldstream have struggled in the First Division this season. They currently sit in ninth place with just 14 points from 15 games.
Although Lamb insists his decision to go is not based on the Streamers’ league position, he admitted that results have been disappointing. “You’re never probably going to win anything in terms of titles because of where Coldstream is - it’s difficult to get players,” he said. “But as a manager I have been frustrated with the results. We should be further up the table.”
Inconsistency and a leaky defence was the Streamer’ main problem during the first half of the current campaign, and although they have tightened up at the back since the turn of the year, Lamb’s men have struggled at the other end of the pitch, scoring only three goals in five competitive games in 2011.
“I wanted to try and bring a better quality to the squad but found it very hard to attract players,” admitted Lamb. “Most of the players I know are in Edinburgh so travelling is an issue.”
Lamb also looked to the rest of the Borders to booster his squad, but said that geography had still been an issue. “Most players from the Borders stay with their own clubs,” he said. “They want to stay where their mates are, and again Coldstream is a distance even from Peebles and Gala, so it’s hard. But I knew that when I took the job.”
Despite the difficulties, Lamb says he has “thoroughly enjoyed” his time at Home Park. “Coldstream is a great club.” he added. “The committee is fantastic - the best I’ve ever worked with. Nothing’s too much for them. They work their socks off for you. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and hope we can end the season on a high.”
McLean, the Colsdstream chairman, has also stepped down from his role at the club after three months spent juggling his time between Coldstream and Border Amateur League side Greenlaw.
Wilson insists McLean’s decision to resign as chairman was in no way related to the manager and coach deciding to move on. He said: “Jim McLean decided to help out his local team and try and help them avoid relegation.
“He has been doing both jobs for about three months but he decided that he was not being fair to Coldstream and offered to resign. We understand his motives, and thanked him for his spell as chairman.”
Wilson will continue in the post of acting chairman until the club’s AGM in May.