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Jarreau Hayward hits out after St George’s sacking

Former St George’s Colts head coach Jarreau Hayward (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Jarreau Hayward has expressed his disappointment after losing the job as head coach of St George’s Colts.

Hayward’s future at the Premier Division club seemed secure after he guided them to their first FA Cup success last season but after reviewing St George’s league performance last term, club officials have decided to replace him.

“I am disappointed not to have my contract renewed at St George’s, to say the least,” Hayward told The Royal Gazette.

“I was told my winning percentage was not good enough, a winning percentage of a team I inherited while third bottom in the First Division.”

Hayward has had to contend with triumph and tragedy during his tenure as coach and looks back with pride at what he achieved.

“I guided us to promotion while being champions for only the second time in our club's history, through shattering my leg, a pandemic and the death of Osagi Bascome and Freddy Hall [in the 2021-22 season], two deaths that not only devastated our community but struck at the core of our team,” he said.

“My job wasn't just coaching. It was counselling, uplifting spirits, keeping us together and showing men what it means to be a man.

“Eventually we became the FA Cup champions, so for my job to come down to winning percentage is a tough one.

“We were third in the table when Osagi passed, but players could barely stand to play the game they love for the club they love, such was Osagi's importance to the team and the community. Our form, understandably, went off a cliff.

“Then my good friend Freddy passed, and it was almost too much to bear. As coach, I had to be a rock, progress and heal men and then teach the game.”

St George’s president Mishael Paynter said the decision to replace Hayward was done in the club’s “best interest”.

“After discussions with our football support staff, players, Jarreau and an analysis of our first team’s win percentage [36 per cent] in the Premier Division under his leadership, we decided it was in our best interest to change the head coach,” Paynter said.

“In conjunction with this, our team was languishing in a relegation battle last season and we asked Herbie Bascome to assist and have oversight over our senior men’s team. After that we ended up finishing in sixth and won the FA Cup.

“Taking all of this into consideration, we decided to look elsewhere.

“The club's vision has previously been established in our strategic plan. Our vision is to build champions, on and off the field, by moulding those participating in our programmes through a commitment to excellence, innovation, togetherness, leadership and respect.”

Hayward rebutted Paynter’s claims about how Bascome became involved with the team, which he considers as an attempt to “discredit” his hard work.

“To clarify statements, the club did not ask Herbie to assist,” Hayward said. “I did, as I was often at sessions and on the touchline of games by myself.”

“Patches’s [assistant coach Cal Dill] family had a tough two years and I told him to put his family first, as he should have. But even when Patches was there, it was a difficult job even for the two of us, so juggling my responsibilities was not easy.

“Herbie was a welcome addition and I cannot overstate my appreciation for him and Patches, but it is not as the club statements made it seem. This attempt to discredit my work is disappointing.

“I needed help. That’s all I asked the management for in the upcoming season, help. However, it was not meant to be and I wish the team and new coach well. I know he will do a good job.”

As for St George’s league struggles last season, Hayward cited injuries to key players as a major contributing factor.

“This last season we were hit by the injury bug hard with our two leading goalscorers, Blaiz Hall and Jonté Smith, out for half the season and two of our best midfielders, Malachi Trott and Cameron Neal, out for the whole season,” he said.

“Ryan King was out for half the season, Paul Simons out for two months, and the list goes on. As many as 14 long-term injuries is too much even for a professional team. Often times, I'd have three to four subs on the bench and players in the XI playing partially injured.

“[Manchester City coach] Pep Guardiola lost every game he's played this season when he didn't have Rodri — one player — but so it goes. I know these blows to our foundation were not taken into consideration.”

Hayward has now been offered an opportunity to groom up-and-coming players in St George’s junior football programme.

“We have offered Jarreau the opportunity to continue his coaching development within our youth programme and look forward to seeing if he will take this coaching pathway,” Paynter said. “We have not departed from him within our football programme.”

However, Hayward is unsure if he will accept the offer.

“A man has to be where he is valued, and even Jesus said a prophet is last accepted in his home town, so we will see,” Hayward said

“I have no animosity in my heart. I am blessed and looking forward to the future. I thank and appreciate all those who supported me. Their encouragement kept me going through the toughest times.”

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Published June 25, 2024 at 1:05 pm (Updated June 26, 2024 at 8:07 am)

Jarreau Hayward hits out after St George’s sacking

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