Long serving Whitby Town manager Chris Hardy resigns
Chris Hardy has resigned as manager of Whitby Town after six years in charge of the club.
Hardy took over after Darren Williams left the club in December 2015 and proceeded to stabilise the club in the Northern Premier League, ending the 2015/16 season in 19th spot.
The following season Hardy guided the club to a sixth place finish, narrowly missing out on the play-offs, while guiding the side to North Riding Senior Cup success after a 3-1 win over Pickering Town at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.
Town finished 21st the following season, but improved with an 11th place finish in the 2018/19 campaign before the coronavirus pandemic prematurely ended Hardy's hopes of guiding his side to the play-offs with the side well-placed in seventh spot with games in hand on the sides above them.
The Blues won their 2020/21 season opener 2-0 at Witton Albion last Saturday before a disappointing exit from the FA Cup on penalties against Warrington Rylands last Tuesday.
Town then battled back to draw 2-2 at big spending Buxton on Saturday before Hardy's side suffered a 5-1 humbling at Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday night in what proved to be his final game in charge of the club.
"There are many reasons as to why I’ve arrived at this decision and after giving this some long and hard thought I’m 100% confident that this is the correct decision for myself and Whitby Town FC," Hardy told The Whitby Gazette.
"It's not something I decided on the back of Tuesday night's defeat, I have given it some good time to think about it and now feels the right time to leave."
Hardy hopes fans will look upon his tenure at the club fondly, adding that the ambition to manage at the highest level possible still burns inside him.
He added: "Six years is an incredibly long time to stay with a club for any manager at any level now and it feels like the time is right to move on, recharge the batteries and then look for a fresh challenge to get my teeth into.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time as manager of the football club, there have been plenty of ups and downs and I will look back on my tenure fondly.
"I'd like to think it will be classed as a successful period in the club's history, we won some silverware, kept the club the division after taking over and came close to the play-offs on a couple of occasions.
"I'm still an ambitious manager and I still have aspirations to manage at the highest level possible, that has never changed.
"I feel I'm a more knowledgeable manager than the one that walked in the door in 2015, this is a hard, hard job and I have learned a lot in the last six years."
Hardy was quick to thank the club's many volunteers, in particular his long-term right-hand man Lee Bullock and the Blues supporters for their backing over the past six years.
He added: "Throughout my time at the football club Bully has walked every step with me and I thank him for that.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has assisted and helped me throughout my time, there are too many names to mention but they know who they are.
"The fans have been brilliant in my time with the club, they've cheered the team on through thick and thin and always got behind myself and the players, so I thank them for the support, which I am sure will continue for the next manager of the football club.
"Whitby Town will always hold a special place in my heart and I wish the club every success in the future."
The Blues travel to Warrington on Saturday and then have a week to search for a replacement before their first NPL home game of the season against Grantham on Saturday October 10.