Family first for O'Leary as accumulation of challenges leads to Potters Bar Town resignation

Lee O'Leary ended his 40-month reign as Potters Bar Town manager on Thursday morning.

Lee O'Leary ended his 40-month reign as Potters Bar Town manager on Thursday morning. - Credit: PETER SHORT

Lee O'Leary says the decision to step down as Potters Bar Town manager came from an accumulation of things rather than one specific moment - and prompted him to put his family first.

This season has been a particularly fraught one for the Scholars with abandoned matches and postponed ones meaning they have barely played over the last six weeks.

It has took its toll on a lot of people but especially the 36-year-old boss, who tendered his resignation at the Isthmian League Premier Division Club on Thursday morning.

He said: "The one thing that kept me where I was is that I am loyal and I don’t like walking away and I don’t like giving up. 

"There are genuine people at the club that I really care about as well as the player group and the management group. 

"I also didn’t want to leave a situation and disrupt the whole lot and leave the club in a transition period. 

"Really I should have been selfish and been looking out for my own best interests and those of my family. 

"It just got to the point where I thought I have to do what’s best for them. 

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"After travelling all the way to and from Brightlingsea [a 2-0 loss on Tuesday], ironic because that was one of the games that got abandoned while we were leading, I got home and the one thing that stood out, and which told me this was the time to go, was I wasn’t deflated and it didn’t hurt too much. 

"It’s been tough, it has been tough."

O'Leary has been in the hot-seat at the LA Construction Stadium since October 2018, his first managerial role, and had been slowly helping Bar to consolidate their position in the division, the highest in the club's history.

There were improvements off the pitch too, with new goals, dug-outs, stands and perimeter fence that helped modernise the club's appearance and in O'Leary's eyes made it look "the best it ever has done".

And he goes with plenty of memories and thanks for being given the role in the first place.

He said: "Every manager out there, past and present, will know how difficult the job is. 

"Dealing with the club and the player group, you have to manage and lead loads of different people but it is part and parcel of what we do and I’ve enjoyed it for the majority of the time. 

"I’m extremely thankful that the club gave me the opportunity to step in and manage the side and we have had some good times. 

"We have made some really good memories and I can’t thank everyone enough. 

"They showed me their support and were really kind to me and my family. 

"There were some little things behind the scenes, some challenges over previous months, and it affected my ability to be the best manager I can be. 

"Those things have got progressively worse and led me to this decision. 

"Maybe I was just the wrong person at the wrong time? 

"It’s just been really difficult when you see games getting called off at home and you are battling things on a week-to-week basis and you are trying to keep everyone happy and motivated. 

"Unfortunately, things like this happen and I know it isn’t anyone’s fault, it is just one of those things. 

"I do think we could have handled those situations better as a club but it is what it is. 

"I had a vision of attracting better players and play better football. That was something I always aimed for. 

"I knew it would take time, and maybe longer than I hoped for, but we got there in the end and we beat some teams emphatically this year and produced some really top performances. 

"I hope the club can get together and push forward. There are some really good people there who deserve that. 

"And the team that I have left behind deserve that as well, they deserve all the help and support they can to go on and be successful. 

"I’m sure whoever goes in and takes on the job will do that."