NEWCASTLE United Women’s Football Club have announced that first-team manager Neil Baistow and head coach Melanie Reay will leave the club at the end of the current season, writes STEPH CLARK.
Both Baistow and Reay, who have been at the club a number of years, have played leading roles in its development, but say the time is right to move on.
The first team currently ply their trade in the FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division but are looking to develop further and win a place in the newly-formed summer Super League.
Club chairman Phil Eadon expressed his sadness at the departures, but praised the duo for the commitment they have given.
He said: “They’ve both took a lot of time to make the decision and they both felt the time was right to concentrate on other things.
“They’ve given the club a lot over the last few years. They both coach Tynemet college and Gateshead women’s so it’s a big ask. Results haven’t been great this season and we want to be pushing for a place in the Premier League and Super League. They felt it was time for fresh ideas and someone new to take the club on to the next level.
Baistow and Reay will stay in charge for the last game of the season and the club will wait until afterwards before any decision on replacements.
“Neil and Melanie will both be tough acts to follow, and anybody who replaces them will need determination and commitment to drive the club to the next level,” said Eadon. The club had their Super League application rejected after their structure failed to meet the FA’s criteria, but now the focus is on meeting these requirements.
“We’ve got a lot of ambition and a lot of work to do to get into the Super League,” added Eadon.
“We were gobsmacked when both ourselves and Sunderland didn’t get in, but we will support each other’s cause and look to get a North East team there in two years’ time when application opens again.”