Brett Angell will not be at the helm of the Hawke's Bay United franchise team as head coach in the national league next summer.

Board chairwoman Paula Walker confirmed yesterday Angell had informed them he wasn't going to reapply after the franchise asked him to throw his hat into the ring for the first time in his five-season stint.

Walker said the Englishman, who is development manager with Central Football, had wished the franchise all the best in trying to add value to the club.

Franchise board deputy chairman Andrew Huxford had earlier said: "We've been open with Brett, who's obviously the incumbent coach, and we've been meeting our member clubs and the outcome of that is we'll be going to the market for a coach so he's open to putting an application in." s

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Angell had drawn controversy in his approach which had led to an exodus of players in his opening season when he displaced Chris Greatholder.

Huxford said the franchise had advertised the position and had received six applicants but were expecting a couple more before the deadline closed on Thursday.

Under Angell, Bay United failed to win a home game at the end of the 2017-18 season to finish eighth, missing out on the playoffs for the first time in six years.

It started poorly for Angell again at the start of last summer — a 5-0 flogging at the hands of Eastern Suburbs, culminating in again missing out on the playoffs.

They won only four of their 18 round-robin games in the premiership and drew five to finish in seventh place although Angell had led the team to the playoffs in the previous three seasons, including a final and a second highest standing on the table in 2016-17.

To rub salt in the wounds last season, the former English Premier League striker was sent off Porirua Park in the 3-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix Reserves in their last outing with the 50-year-old blaming inconsistent refereeing for his marching orders. It was one of several sending offs for Angell with Bay United. In 2017 it prompted EPL stalwart Bobby Gould, visiting the family holiday home in Waimarama, to suggest someone needed to be next to Angell to calm him down on the sideline when emotions peaked.

Jamie Dunning, the Bay United co-assistant coach, is likely to be among the applicants for the role of head coach next summer. Photo/file
Jamie Dunning, the Bay United co-assistant coach, is likely to be among the applicants for the role of head coach next summer. Photo/file

It is a role assistant coach Jamie Dunning has fulfilled since then although past assistants included player Paul Ifill, of the Wellington Phoenix A-League fame.

Angell also caused a furore last season when he did not re-select 2017-18 captain Bill Robertson, amid expressions of disbelief in many quarters,

Huxford said the franchise was entering a new season, "starting from zero", so it wouldn't be carrying over any debts from the previous summers.

"Our debts will be all paid up by the end of the financial year so there's no problem with that," he said.

However, major clubs from the five catchment areas had questioned the Central Federation's role in financially supporting its "semi-professional" franchise team in the national league and also demanding transparency in the amateur administrative body's dealings last October.

Among the key issues of concern were the $152,000 the Bay United franchise owed Central Football, the multimillion-dollar development of facilities in Taranaki and the feeling among some clubs that the amateur body was competing with its own affiliates for young talent in winter. Bay United will continue to make its monthly payments to Central Football although the latter had not confirmed what the time limit or finer details were of those terms.

Huxford confirmed the franchise, which has the commitment from principal naming rights sponsors Thirsty Whale, had lodged an application, akin to Napier City Rovers FC, with the intent to continue.

It had started a "focus group" about eight months ago with Bay clubs after three meetings where it had canvassed their support to continue its campaign.

Huxford said the Rovers, Taradale FC, Port Hill Soccer Club, Western Rangers FC, Eskview FC, Maycenvale FC, Havelock North FC and Napier Marist FC had rubber stamped that continuance of campaign.

"We're basically a representation of Hawke's Bay clubs," he said.

The clubs' endorsement had given the franchise the confidence and belief to turn around "some bad press" from last year.

"Probably the results haven't been quite on the board in the last couple of years so it's enabled us to take a hard look at ourselves on why we're here and what we're trying to achieve and then discuss that with a wider group, which is the focus group, or the number of people who have put up their hands to say they want to be part of the group to be successful going forward."

Shane McKenzie (foreground) is no longer Bay United general manager operations but franchise board chairwoman Paula Walker and her deputy, Andrew Huxford, are still at the helm. Photo/file
Shane McKenzie (foreground) is no longer Bay United general manager operations but franchise board chairwoman Paula Walker and her deputy, Andrew Huxford, are still at the helm. Photo/file

In an email sent to the focus group representatives headed "Putting the U back in HBU", Huxford said his 2019-20 plan was probably considered "audacious, bold, and I will concede ambitious" but felt those attributes were essential after they had voted to retain premiership presence in the province, something he considered achievable.

"I've done my numbers and it's ambitious," he confirmed after, adding nine out of the 10 franchises in the premiership were struggling and the Bay was no exception.

Huxford said what was heartening was seeing clubs beginning to build a rapport with each other a lot more and the franchise was part of that thread.

"What we want to do is be completely open and transparent with all those clubs as we go through the process so it's great that we're all kind of talking to each other."

It was exciting, he said, they had found common ground despite having different pathways and values.

He said the cost of running the franchise would be a challenge so transparency with the clubs and focus group would be vital.

"Are we raising enough money or not? What's the best way to keep national league football in Hawke's Bay?"

Franchise general manager Shane McKenzie resigned from his position in March and is now the operations manager of Central Football.

"The challenges and opportunities in Central Football don't come along too often so after three years it was probably just a time for me to look at a new challenge," said McKenzie who started his new job on April 1.

Huxford said McKenzie had the franchise support and blessing to expand his portfolio.

The general manager's position had been advertised on the franchise's Facebook site with the head coach.