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Ryan Maxwell overwhelmed by reaction to his shock return as Sittingbourne manager | Players were sworn to secrecy over U-turn

Ryan Maxwell knows he’s made the right decision after a swift return to Sittingbourne.

Boss Maxwell announced his U-turn in a speech at the club’s presentation evening on Friday night - a week after resigning.

Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell. Picture: Ian Scammell
Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell. Picture: Ian Scammell

He’d been due to say goodbye after accepting a job closer to his home in Hertfordshire, intending to spend more time with wife Amy and their young daughter.

But doubts about his new role crept in and he thrashed out his return to the Brickies in a meeting with vice-chairman Andrew Marjeram.

The players were sworn to secrecy before Maxwell revealed his surprise news in front of delighted supporters.

“The fact I wrestled so much with the decision to leave in the first place probably told a story in itself,” said Maxwell.

“Having made the decision to come back, when it came to the presentation evening and the reaction of the fans when they were made aware, it was apparent it was the right decision.

“The reaction was incredible and the happiness in that room was really quite overwhelming.

“That moment was a little bit on the special side.

“It’s something I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

“My missus was there and everyone was thanking her where they were aware I had to have a conversation with her.

“She was more concerned about me being happy and she’s as happy as anyone it all got resolved.

“It was a great night and I’m already working hard on recruitment to give us the best possible chance of success next season.”

Uncertainty over which league Maxwell’s new club would be placed in next season led to doubts over the role.

It immediately made life difficult regarding recruitment, with the budget also unconfirmed until the club knew where they stood in terms of travelling.

In the meantime, he’d stayed in touch with Marjeram, who has put measures in place to make the job work.

These include training once a week at Epping, which is only half an hour away from Maxwell’s house.

“I was always in contact with Andrew because he was very keen to make me stay and he offered everything he could,” said the Northern Irishman.

“I’d just come out of a meeting with the club I’d agreed to sign for and I said to Andrew, ‘I think we need one last chat’, so I drove down to meet him and we had a real honest conversation about everything.

“He’s done absolutely everything he can to make it manageable for me and I can’t thank him enough.

“You don’t get many chairmen like him. It’s rare.

“He’s a top, top man and I love working for him.

“We were both pretty sad when I was leaving because we’ve become mates, never mind anything else.

“I wasn’t going to resign from Sittingbourne and then not sign for the new club and wait for another offer.

Donvieve Jones is among those already on board for next season at Sittingbourne. Picture: Ian Scammell
Donvieve Jones is among those already on board for next season at Sittingbourne. Picture: Ian Scammell

“Sittingbourne’s a great club and when Andrew’s willing to do all this for me, I’m going to go back and hopefully finish the job that we came close to last year and get promoted.”

Maxwell, having advised Brickies players there could be a change of plan, expects to keep the majority of the squad who reached the Isthmian South East play-off semi-finals.

After finishing third, there’s no need for major surgery.

Top scorer Mitchell May, defenders Donvieve Jones and Chris Arthur, and midfielder Luke Woodward have already been announced as staying on.

“I told the players to give me 48 hours and I’d come back to them,” said Maxwell.

“I told them all the truth and they were shocked but happy because I would always have wanted the majority to stay.

“Plenty will stay now and we’ll add a couple to it.

“They’re happy they haven’t got to go searching for clubs.

“There were a few players very much in demand, and certainly one or two considering offers.

“Thankfully, and it’s humbling, they’re staying now.

“What’s great is I’ve inadvertently saved myself weeks of phone calls because the club I was going to was a total rebuild.”

Maxwell feels no added pressure to bring success to Sittingbourne in light of his U-turn.

He’s never hidden away from his desire to take the club into the Isthmian Premier, having transformed them from relegation contenders after taking charge in January last year.

“I couldn’t possibly put any more pressure on myself,” he said.

“I’m fully aware what I’m here to achieve.

“We can talk about the turnaround and what we’ve done but the past is the past.

“I’m here to get this club promoted.

“That’s my goal and I’ll do everything I possibly can to make that happen.”

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