ALBURY City has sacked coach Simon Randall with just four rounds to go in the season.
The Border Mail understands a rift between the players and Randall came to a head on Monday night, with the board deciding to end the relationship.
Last night Albury City was yet to appoint a caretaker coach with recently returned Englishman Aaron Gough and club stalwart Ant Maw expected to take the senior session at Jelbart Park.
Randall joined City at the end of 2012 on a three-year deal and took over from Maw and his brother Matt after the club missed the cup finals.
That year he had coached Twin City Wanderers to third.
Last year Albury City made the finals after a stellar mid-season run but have languished at or near the bottom of the ladder for most of 2014.
A number of last year’s squad have been playing reserves in recent weeks amid rumours of player unrest, while The Border Mail understands one of their leading goalscorers from last year decided to go back to under age soccer after just five rounds.
City president Robert Brown said it was a difficult decision.
“Simon has done some good things for the club, particularly in the development of players and playing structures,” he said.
“He remains a very good technical and tactical coach.
“But the situation with the players was irretrievable and we had no choice other than to make what is a really tough call.
“Albury City is not a club that is used to making these decisions — we had hoped Simon would be with us for the long term, guide us for the next five to 10 years.”
Brown said recent player selections had not influenced their decision.
“We do not interfere with selections, that is the role of the coach,” he said.
“We still believe we have the makings of a quality side but they have been a little inconsistent this year — we have confidence in their ability and are hopeful they can put it together on the park.”
Brown said there was no rush in finding a replacement.
“We will wait and see what happens this year, let the dust settle and then look to the future with the aim of doing what is best for the club and the senior side,“ he said.
Randall did not reply to The Border Mail’s calls and texts prior to yesterday’s deadline.