Axed Guiseley boss Kittrick instrumental in recruitment of ex-Bradford City defender Clarke (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Axed Guiseley boss Steve Kittrick instrumental in recruitment of ex-Bradford City defender Matt Clarke
Steve Kittrick is still having an influence at Guiseley even after the club axed him as manager.
The outgoing boss’s final signing has just been completed, with former Bantams defender Matt Clarke finally joining the Lions.
The 32-year-old centre back will not be making his debut tomorrow but the club hope he will be available for Tuesday’s home local derby against Bradford Park Avenue.
Guiseley chief executive officer Adrian Towers said: “We are delighted to get Matt as we feel his experience could be essential, especially with Mark (Bower) not being sure if he will play himself over the next couple of games.”
The Nethermoor board relieved Kittrick of his duties on Wednesday afternoon, with a very brief statement citing “a disappointing end to last season and a difficult start to this campaign” as the reasons why they had “no choice but to move on” just six games into the season.
The Lions have won two, drawn two and lost two of their games to date. Crucially, both of those defeats came at home and although they were against strong sides in the Conference North, it was a start that made the powers that be nervous.
They installed club captain Bower as caretaker but Towers says he is in the hot-seat for the foreseeable future.
Towers revealed: “Steve started off the move for Matt and Mark finished it. It has been ongoing for about three weeks.
“The deal is done but we are waiting for international clearance because his last club was Marsaxlokk (in Malta).
“He left them at the end of their season but had been in the country a while because he played for Hibernians before Marsaxlokk. Kitty (Kittrick) began talks with him once he came back to England.”
Former Bradford and Darlington player Clarke has recently had trial spells with FC Halifax Town, another of his former clubs, and Grimsby Town.
That could have been the reason why negotiations with Guiseley were so long-winded but he has now made his decision.
Clarke’s debut could be against Avenue, whose own boss John Deacey is sorry to see his rival out of work.
He knows it is a results-based business but feels Kittrick’s past record should have bought him more time.
Deacey said: “Nothing surprises in football any more. I think he has done a fantastic job and was very unlucky to lose his job.
“He put Guiseley on the map. He got the club up into the Conference League, led them on great cup runs and consistently got results in the league.
“Kitty was unlucky not to have got promotion to the Conference Premier. To finish with a record points total for the club and still not go up must have been heartbreaking for him.
“It’s Guiseley’s decision (to sack Kittrick), and that’s their prerogative, but good luck to him in the future. I hope he gets back on the bus very soon.”
Kittrick had six seasons in charge at Nethermoor and they were highly eventful.
He led the club to a UniBond Challenge Cup triumph, the UniBond Premier Division title – which landed automatic promotion to the Conference North – three consecutive West Riding County Cup finals at Valley Parade, two of which they won, long runs in the FA Cup which banked significant amounts of prize money, three play-off campaigns in the Conference North and back-to-back runners-up spots in his last two seasons.
Former Bantams skipper Bower will be assisted by Kittrick’s number two Chris Holland and physio Martin Stringfellow.
Bower will be given time to prove his own credentials for the post, should he want it, with Towers saying: “Caretaker is not quite the right term.
“He hasn’t been put in for a week or two while we sift through applications. Mark is effectively in place.
“We have had a lot of interest already in the job but Mark is looking to get into management and at this time we are not looking at anyone else.”