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Joint Downham boss reflects on impending departure

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Craig Dickson is taking an indefinite break from football after announcing his departure from the Downham Town dugout at the end of this season.Dickson, who has been involved with the club since a youngster, will step away from the joint managerial role at the Memorial Field after Downham’s two cup finals in May.Dale Stokes and Dickson guided the West Norfolk club to promotion through the Thurlow Nunn First Division play-offs last season and followed it up with a brilliant seventh-place finish in the Premier Division this term.Their final act together will see them try to mastermind victories against Harlow Town in the Thurlow Nunn Challenge Cup and Gorleston in the Norfolk Senior Cup finals next month.”It’s family-related, said Dickson. “My missus is expecting this Saturday actually and I’ve decided that management takes up too much time and I want to prioritise my family.”It might only be for a season or two but we’ll have to see how I feel at the time. I will miss it, but it wasn’t a difficult decision. “I’m hoping the club bring out a season ticket this year as I want to take my family to the games and still be involved and help the club wherever I can, without the daily commitments of management.”The plan is a couple of years out and then reassess how I feel.” Dickson paid tribute to fellow manager Stokes, who will remain as manager.”Dale has been great to work with, we have our differences at times but in general we see the game the same way,” he said. “We’ve had a little bit of success during our time together and turned the club around from where it was when we were both playing.”I think our passion for the club makes a difference. We’re both Downham through and through. “We’ve always wanted what’s best for the club and it has been seven days a week for five-and-a-half years. “Whether it’s been at the ground or on the phone, we’ve worked almost every day to improve the facility, pitch (Dale’s domain) or the team.”Think that’s what is required if you want to have success at any level and it has worked for us.” Reflecting on his five seasons in management, Dickson said: “I’ve loved every second of it. “Even the setbacks when we haven’t been promoted have just driven us on.”There’s only one stand-out moment for me. Having your best mate (Pat Yates) score the ‘winner’ in the play-off final and that celebration will be something I truly cherish for the rest of my life. “Dickson’s sentiments were echoed by Stokes who said: “It has been an unbelievable five-and-a-half years together and throughout the whole time we’ve never really spoken about the achievements and the progress the club has made.”When something like this happens, you take a step back and look at it properly. We’ve made some great memories and hopefully made the club and town proud.”It’s an almost impossible job to run something as joint managers, but it has been an absolute pleasure to have Craig alongside me and I don’t think we’ve done too badly in fairness.”On the plus side for Craig, I’m sure he’ll be delighted that I won’t now be messaging him 24/7.”Thursday night’s statement from the club read: “Downham Town have reluctantly accepted the resignation of joint first team manager Craig Dickson.”Craig will be stepping down at the end of the season to spend more time with his young family.”He has been a massive part of Downham Town from the age of six, playing through the age groups before going on to represent the first team for several years, as well as being captain.”After hanging up his boots he then became joint first team manager alongside Dale Stokes in November 2018. He leaves the club having been part of a largely successful five-and-a-half years.”During this time, the club has progressed season after season, reaching their highest-ever level and making their first appearance in the FA Cup.”His fellow first team manager Dale, the committee, youth team coaches and supporters are extremely grateful for everything he has done throughout his time and wish him nothing but the best.”The club is undoubtedly in a much better position thanks to his involvement and his impact and enthusiasm will be sorely missed across the club.”The club now begins the search for Dickson’s successor to assist Stokes in the dugout and is accepting applications for an assistant manager/coach.”I really enjoy the coaching side of things but I’d also like to relinquish part of that,” said Stokes.”We’d like to bring in someone who wants to get involved with leading training sessions and then supporting me with the other bits.”Anyone interested in the role should email: chairman@downhamtownfc.com



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