Freeman quits as Jersey Bulls manager

Gary Freeman
Gary Freeman guided Jersey Bulls to promotion after a league restructure in 2021 [Adi Topley/Jersey Bulls]

Jersey Bulls manager Gary Freeman has resigned after five years in the role.

Freeman guided the islanders to second place in Combined Counties Premier South this season.

But a 2-1 loss at home to AFC Croydon Athletic in Saturday's play-off semi-final meant Bulls missed out on promotion to the eighth tier of English football.

Freeman's coaching staff have also announced they will be stepping down.

He became Bulls boss having been successful at local side St Peter and led the islanders to 36 successive wins after making their debut in Combined Counties League Division One in 2019.

But the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic closed the league for two successive seasons, by which time Bulls had been granted promotion thanks to a restructure of non-league football.

Since then Bulls have finished fourth, third and second in Combined Counties League Premier South.

He also led the island side to the third qualifying round of the FA Cup in 2021 and the last 16 of this season's FA Vase.

'It has been an unbelievable five years'

Gary Freeman
Gary Freeman was the first person from Jersey to manage an island-based side in an English league [BBC]

"I’d like to thank you all for the fantastic opportunity to manage your club, it has been an unbelievable five years," Freeman said in his resignation letter posted on Jersey Bulls' website.

"So many wonderful memories will stay with me forever.

"The time, work, and effort everyone puts in largely goes unnoticed by others, but certainly not by me.

"You should be proud that you have built a football club that the Island is proud of, a place where coaches and players can grow and test themselves and the public can get behind and support"

Assistant manager Kevan Nelson, coach Dan Seviour and goalkeeping coach Richard Hebert will also be stepping down.

"Gary will always be a Jersey Bulls FC legend, he came into the unknown and embraced every challenge thrown at him and the club," chairman Russell Le Feuvre told the club website.

"It has been an amazing five years, and from the start to where we are now is testament to him and his management teams’ dedication and the commitment they have shown the club and the island"

'Freeman leaves a strong legacy of growth behind'

Warren Muggleton

BBC Channel Islands sports reporter

You wonder whether Gary Freeman is channelling his inner Nico Rosberg - leaving at the zenith of Jersey Bulls.

While the 2019-20 winning season and 2021-22 FA Cup run stand out, this year the Bulls have performed consistently across several campaigns for large spells of the season for the first time.

Reaching the fifth round of the FA Vase and the promotion play-off semi-finals are great achievements but Bulls have been found out on these occasions.

So this suggests that Freeman and his team have taken the club as far as they can.

The new manager will face high expectations with this current squad. The key will be unlocking a versatility of tactical play to build on the mountain of work by Freeman and his team, who leave a strong legacy of growth behind.

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