THE Hawke's Bay United football franchise has poured cold water on rumours that coach Brett Angell won't return next season.
Franchise operations manager Matt Hastings says Angell is going to England for a holiday after spearheading the team to their second playoffs in the 2015-16 ASB Premiership campaign.
"It's just pure speculation," says Hastings when asked if there was any truth in rumours in the region that the Englishman was heading back home to secure a coaching job there.
Angell leaves on May 22 and is expected to return at the end of next month but rumours have been rife among football circles at the parks that he is on a fishing expedition.
"We're aware of what Brett is doing and he's going to England for personal reasons to catch up with some friends so that's no speculation because that's what's happening.
"Hey, he might come back and say something has come up while he was there so we're prepared for that," says Hastings, revealing two members of the franchise board had had a debriefing session with the former English professional player.
In the debriefing Angell had disclosed he "didn't feel the need" to speak to the media about matters pertaining to the national summer league football until the start of the next season this November.
The franchise, Hastings says, didn't stand in the way of two of their players, Khair Jones and Hamish Watson, leaving last season and it has no intentions of deviating from that policy when it comes to coaches.
It has offered the 47-year-old a contract amid a sense of honesty between all parties, including his employers, Central Football, the regional arm of New Zealand Football that polices the code in the catchment area which embraces the Bay, Gisborne, Wanganui, Manawatu and Taranaki.
"We've offered him a contract and Brett agrees he wants to coach the side but he can't be 100 per cent certain about it now and we understand that," he says, hopeful the football development manager will sign when he returns.
Central Football CEO John McGifford is on leave for three months but Hastings says the umbrella organisation and the franchise are on the same page.
Angell has had a stellar two seasons with the franchise, historically taking them to the premiership grand final in 2014-15.
Bay United lost in the semifinals in the 2015-16 season but achieved several firsts for the professional club.
"He's taken the franchise team to their best position in the league [grand final], most goals scored in a season and the most points scored in a season.
"This season [2015-16] the team's had seven clean sheets, with Brett as coach, out of 15 games," he says of the number of times where sides have failed to score against the Finlay Milne-captained Bay United.
He feels it's ironic that Bay fans are focusing on speculation on Angell's future rather than celebrating his and the team's success.
"It should be the other way around," he says.
The former Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion second-division loan striker has been nominated coach of the year for the second consecutive time for the HB Sports Awards on Saturday, May 21.
Bay United also are finalists for the second year in a row as team of the year while chairwoman Paula Walker is among the administrator-of-the-year hopefuls for the first time.
Angell took over the helm of the franchise team in acrimonious circumstances that saw Central Football cut loose former coach Chris Greatholder, of Havelock North, amid claims and counter claims on whether Greatholder wanted to remain in the job.
That sparked off a wholesale exodus of players, especially Bay-based ones, to other regions in the past two summers amid claims that Angell was dictatorial in his approach as caretaker, although Tom Biss returned to the fold last season.
The frustrating aspect in the Angell era has been the lack of turnout or support from Bay fans despite his undeniable success, albeit with foreign players and mostly those outside the province.
Hastings says it frustrates the club as well that "the ill feelings from the community towards Angell" eclipse all the accolades.
"I can't speculate on why people do what they do but the club is 100 per cent behind him.
"Of course, at times we've had to rein him in for his own good and the club's but his results should speak much louder than anything else," he says of Angell who has had his share of dust-ups with fourth officials and referees on the park culminating once in marching orders to the grandstand at Park Island, Napier.
"He might be a dictator. Some coaches are and some aren't but his formula works."
Hastings says if Angell's coaching style doesn't sit well with some then it's up to the people to deal with that.