Athlone Town won't renew Place's contract next season

Story by Adrian Cusack

Thursday, 23rd September, 2010 12:41pm

Brendan Place's spell as manager of Athlone Town is set to end when the final whistle blows on the 2010 Airtricity League season.

The club discussed Place's tenure at a committee meeting last week and the Westmeath Independent understands that the manager was subsequently told his contract will not be renewed after the current campaign.

When asked yesterday (Tuesday) if he could confirm that Place won't be reinstated as manager, Athlone Town's Media Officer Chris Enright would only say: "A club meeting was held recently and that was one of the topics up for discussion.

"The chairman is out of the country at the moment but a statement will be issued in due course."

Attempts were also made to contact Place this week, but he could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.

While Athlone Town have a further six fixtures to play this season, including a home game against Shelbourne on Saturday, this has been another year in which the club's results have been underwhelming.

The club currently lies third from bottom in the First Division - the same position in which it ended the 2009 campaign.

Over the course of this season Athlone have thus far recorded five wins, eleven draws and eleven defeats.

Bright spots, such a 0-1 win away to Cork City in May and a recent 2-2 draw away to high-flying Derry City, have proved to be the exception rather than the rule.

Working within the confines of a tight budget, Place was active in the transfer market both before the season and during the transfer window opening in the summer. However he was unable to compile a team which delivered results with any consistency.

As Place has often pointed out, his side's fortunes weren't helped by indiscipline on the pitch. It's believed that 15 red cards were issued to Athlone players in the 27 league games to date this year.

Place coached the Irish Under-17s and Under-19s, and had a spell managing Malahide United in the Leinster Senior League, before joining Athlone Town in January 2009.

The appointment was his first as a League of Ireland manager. As a player he lined out for Athlone, Home Farm, Longford Town, Monaghan United and Gillingham.

Along with well ex-Irish international Jeff Kenna, and former League of Ireland managers Harry McCue and Bobby Browne, he has been working towards the completion of his UEFA Pro Licence for coaches.

Results during his first year at Athlone Town were less than impressive, but most supporters and figures involved with the club were willing to give Place at least another season in which to prove his true capabilities.

No real improvement was achieved on the field this season, and it's now been decided that he won't be given a further opportunity to take charge of the side in 2011. It's believed that he will remain at the helm for the final six games of this season.

On Saturday, Athlone Town take on Alan Matthews' Shelbourne at Lissywollen (kick-off 7.30). Declan 'Fabio' O'Brien will be suspended for the game after his dismissal in the Town's last outing, a 2-0 defeat away to Monaghan United.

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