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Ballard is left fuming by Coyle's departure
FC Clacton chairman David Ballard has accused former manager Steve Pitt of breaking a “solemn promise” by taking Seasiders skipper Kevin Coyle to Stanway Rovers.
The 24-year-old, who has made more than 250 appearances and scored in excess of 50 goals for the Tendring side, has agreed to join the Ridgeons League Cup winners.
However, his departure has been met with an angry reaction by Ballard, who insists Pitt promised not to sign Coyle when he left Clacton to become Stanway boss last July.
“Kevin is entitled to go wherever he wants, although I’m obviously disappointed to see him go because he and his family are a big part of our club,” said the Seasiders chairman.
“But I’m angry with Steve.
“He left us in the lurch when he left, just before the start of last season.
“And when he went, he shook my hand and made a solemn promise that he wouldn’t take Kevin to Stanway.
“Now he’s gone back on his word and it’s left a very sour taste.”
Pitt refused to be drawn into a war of words, but said he was perfectly within his rights to make the signing.
“Far from having broken any agreement, I totally and utterly honoured it,” said the Rovers boss, who is looking to bolster his squad after the recent departures of Ben Newson, Michael Cheek and Russell Malton to Heybridge Swifts.
“I made a gentleman’s agreement and have honoured it by making no approaches to Clacton for 12 months, which I consider an appropriate period of time by any normal standards.
“My understanding was that I wouldn’t make any signings that would destabilize the club in that time and I’ve stuck by that to the letter.”