Former Bristol Rovers chief makes controversial move as club ‘disappointed’

The man who used to choose managers and sign players at Rovers - has swapped clubs very late on in the season.
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Former Bristol Rovers director of football Tommy Widdrington has made a controversial move to non-league outfit Aldershot Town.

Widdrington was manager of National League North outfit King’s Lynn, but in the aftermath of their 1-0 win over Chorley, it was announced he would be leaving. The 51-year-old joined them last season and was unable to stop them from being relegated from the National League, but had them battling for promotion.

At the time of his departure, the Walks were second, five points off of the league leaders AFC Fylde, and all but guaranteed a place in the play-offs. Widdrington, had caretaker spells in the dugout at the Gas when filling in for Ben Garner, as well as when they looked for a replacement for Paul Tisdale.

Widdrington’s former club King’s Lynn posted on Saturday afternoon: “The club are disappointed to have been told by our manager Tommy Widdrington this evening that he is resigning in order to take up an alternative post at another club.

"Tommy is under contract with us, and the club in question have not contacted us to seek to reach an agreement and nor has Tommy sought to reach an agreement that would allow us to waive the contractual position.

"We would not stand in the way of a manager (or player) who wished to progress to a higher level and has the opportunity to do so, but such matters need to be dealt with professionally and legally.

"We very much hope a swift resolution will be reached, as an alternative to a legal process. Meanwhile, given Tommy has made it clear that he has resigned with immediate effect (irrespective of his contractual obligations to the club) the search for a new manager begins now."

News emerged on Sunday that Widdrington would be taking charge of struggling Aldershot, and would replace Ross McNeilly, with a start date of Monday, April 3. The Shots have six games remaining in their campaign, and are five points above the drop zone, but Yeovil Town have a game in hand over them.

Numerous players that featured for Rovers followed Widdrington to King’s Lynn, such as Josh Barrett, Cam Hargreaves, Zain Walker and his son Theo Widdrington. The transfer window is shut which means that none of his players will be able to follow him to his new club, and they will have to get promoted without him, whilst Widdrington will need to keep up Aldershot with a squad that he did not assemble.