The longest serving manager in the English football pyramid stepped aside on Monday. Gordon Bartlett had been in charge of Wealdstone since 1995.
Bartlett has guided Wealdstone through many highs and lows during his time at the club. He and the stones were denied a third successive promotion to the Isthmian premier division due to ground improvements to the White Lion Ground being completed six days after the deadline.
Bartlett also suffered heartbreak when Wealdstone’s investment partners on the Prince Edward Playing Fields project went into liquidation which stopped construction on the stadium. The stadium was finally completed and is now known as the Hive, and is serving as home to Barnet.
Wealdstone hadn’t had a place they could call their own since they left Lower Mead and, when I interviewed Bartlett last year he said that the Prince Edward Playing Fields project falling through was one of the biggest lows during his time at Wealdstone.
Bartlett will be able to look back at his time at Wealdstone with pride. He won the Isthmian League Third Division in 1996/97 and sealed promotion by finishing second in the Isthmian League Second Division in 1997/98.
Wealdstone also won the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup in the 2003-04 and 2010/11 season.
Wealdstone enjoyed reasonable success under Bartlett in other cup competitions. They lost to Newport County in the FA Trophy semi-final 3-1 on aggregate in 2012.
Wealdstone made two appearances in the First Round Proper of the FA Cup under Bartlett. In the 2008/2009 season, they narrowly lost to Rotherham United 3-2 at Grovesnor Vale.
Grovesnor Vale was visited again by a football league side in the 2015/2016 season. Wealdstone came from behind to go 2-1 up before losing 6-2 to Colchester United.
Undoubtedly Bartletts finest achievement was getting Wealdstone promoted to the Conference South (now the National League South) from the Isthmian Premier in the 2013/2014 season. That season Bartlett won the Isthmian League manager of the year.
In Bartlett’s last full season he managed to guide Wealdstone to their highest league finish since 1998 as they finished 8th in the Vanarama National League South. Wealdstone reached two finals last season to losing both. They lost 2-1 to Ashford Town in the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup Final and lost 1-0 to Hampton and Richmond in the Middlesex Senior Cup Final.
Wealdstone have only picked up four points from their first 5 games this season and Bartlett believes the time is right for him to take a step back from management and has taken on a new role at Wealdstone which will see him focus on youth development in which he has a talent in. After discovering Bury Striker Jermaine Beckford’s potential at Wealdstone. Bartlett’s role will also focus on football in the community among other areas.
Gordon steps away from his managerial role at Wealdstone with the club more financially secure than ever, a ground where they can truly call home and the club has the momentum now to push on from last season under new manager Bobby Wilkinson.
Twitter tributes to Bartlett
— Stones Goals Live (@StonesGoals) August 21, 2017
Real sad news longest serving manager in football steps down after 22yrs thank you so much Gordon Bartlett who reinvented the word Loyalty pic.twitter.com/ubI61i40O3
— Gordon Hill (@OnlyOneRaider) August 22, 2017
What can I say,
Total respect for #GordonBartlett He is a gentleman & my hero.
There is a emptiness in my heart.
— Markie Barton. (@markiesb) August 21, 2017
What is your favourite memory of Gordon Bartlett as Wealdstone’s boss?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Featured Image Source: Katie Chan
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