Fort manager to depart club as league wrangle rumbles on

Fort William FC Manager Shadab Iftikhar, who joined the club at the end of last year. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image. NO_T02_SHADAB IFTIKAR 01

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Fort William FC has now confirmed that manager, Shadab Iftikhar, will not be staying on in the role for next season as he wants to focus on his other football commitments oversees.

Iftikhar told the Claggan Park club website at the weekend it had been a very tough decision, but one he had made with his head and not his heart.

‘I will never forget this unbelievable experience, I want to thank firstly my players for everything they gave me, the board who gave me this opportunity and finally the fans who have made such an effort with me and I will be forever grateful,’ he added.

‘I believe the club is laying a strong foundation which will lead to a sustained period of success. Mon the Fort!’

In its online response posted on Sunday, the club said it was grateful to the former Mongolia national team assistant manager for stepping in during what the club called ‘a unique situation’, and thanked him for all the effort, work and dedication he and his staff did during his reign.

‘We wish him the best of luck in what is surely a very bright future. Shadab will be supporting the club with the ongoing situation with the Highland League and continues to scout talent for the Fort. We wish him all the best with his new venture,’ added the club.

Iftikhar took charge of the Highland League side in December with an appointment lasting until the end of the season, with the option for a further year.

But with Fort currently facing relegation from the Highland League after it pulled out of two recent play-off games in the wake of a dispute involving player eligibility and the long-running saga concerning the condition of the Claggan Park pitch, it will not be a surprise to some that the manager is not staying on.

Fort William FC's Claggan Park ground. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos IF F16 Fort FC 01
Fort William FC’s Claggan Park ground. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

However, given comments from the club on its Facebook page, it looks as if the Claggan Park management are still hanging onto the belief they can avert relegation somehow.

In response to one comment that demotion will probably mean that a few players will follow the manager out the door, the club stated: ‘We are still contesting the decision.
Nobody knows what league we are in yet.’