WODONGA Diamonds cup and league winning coach Jimmy Bell has left the club on the eve of the finals.
Bell, who has endured a frustrating year with injuries and player losses, surrendered his position shortly before the last home and away game against Albury United on Sunday.
Back of the Net understands tensions between the club, some players and its senior coach have been simmering for more than a month.
Last week Bell was also announced as the coach of Murray United’s National Premier League under-15 boys team for next year.
Richard Herzina will take on the Diamonds’ coaching role during the cup finals.
Bell said he still believes his former club can win the cup.
“I think we had a pretty good year to finish third after all the injuries,” he said.
“I would have been gone earlier but for some people at the club who encouraged me to stay.
“There are a group of players who have really worked hard this year and others who simply came and went as they pleased.
“Sunday was the last straw and I don’t want to go into details, but the decision was largely by mutual agreement.”
Bell, who had missed out on the senior job at Albury United two years ago, was picked up by Diamonds ahead of 2013.
He guided the club to the league and cup double, losing just the one game.
Bell is the third AWFA senior coach to part ways with their club before the end of the season.
Wangaratta replaced Craig Cartwright in the middle of the year and more recently Albury City sacked its senior coach Simon Randall.
Diamonds president Damien Morrison said they had always expected Bell to move on.
“Because of his success and qualifications, moving to the NPL club was always on the cards,” he said.
“Jimmy probably wanted to go four weeks ago and we wanted him to stay on.
“There is no ill will — his circumstances are changing and we respect that.
“We still fancy the chances of the senior side in the cup finals and Richard will guide that side along with James Dexter.
“Like about six other clubs in the league it looks like we’ll be looking for a senior coach next year.”