Loxwood ‘absolutely gutted’ as increased work commitments force Beard to step down

Loxwood manager Mark Beard
Loxwood manager Mark Beard

Mark Beard’s shock decision to step down as Loxwood manager has left all parties, including himself ‘absolutely gutted’.

The former Millwall and Sheffield United professional, who took over as first team boss in April 2015, has been forced to resign from his role due to increased commitments with Brighton & Hove Albion.

Full-time coach Beard runs one of the youth teams at the Seagulls and has been offered a bigger role with the academy section with immediate effect.

Players were told that the 42-year-old would be leaving his role at the Plaistow Road club last night at training and that Dave Cocoracchio, who switched from manager to a director of football role when Beard was appointed, will take over running the Premier Division side in an interim role until the end of the season.

Assistant manager Chris Stygal will remain at the club alongside coach Matt Camp.

Cocoracchio has hailed Beard as the ‘best coach’ he has met and while revealing they say goodbye to their manager with a heavy heart, it will be business as usual for the Magpies.

He said: “We are all absolutely gutted about the outcome. Beardy has Brighton coaching commitments and they have given him extra work. While it is not a full-time contract it will impact on his availability.

“He could be travelling a lot and not around at the weekend on Saturdays and he was not left with any other option but to resign.

“The most important thing is there is a big difference with him and many of us that are involved in football at this level, football is his job and he has to do what is best for him and his family.

“Beardy has done outstanding work with us. Not all things will be visible to those looking from afar, but the hard work and commitment he has given us has moved us forwards.

“Both parties are absolutely gutted, but for him it’s the right thing to do. It’s not as if he is leaving us for another football club that isn’t a professional one. We wish him all the best, he is the best coach I have worked with and the best in the county.

“While it is a disappointment our goal does not change one Iota, we will continue to move on and build as we are doing. It’s business as usual.

“We still want to continue with what Beardy has done and build on local young talent with our under-21 and youth sides next year. We still hope we will be attracting top-quality youngsters.”