BARNET have been rocked by the departure of Simon Bassey, who is leaving for a job in the Football League.
Appointed as first-team coach following the dismissal of manager Tim Flowers in March, Bassey took training, picked the team and was in the dugout on matchdays.
Barnet had tasted victory just three times on his arrival, but won five of their final 12 games to end a miserable season on a high.
The 46-year-old was subsequently offered a contract by Bees chairman Tony Kleanthous but spurned the National Premier strugglers in favour of an as-yet unspecified role with a side in League Two.
“I was planning on staying for a longer period of time, but ultimately an opportunity has come up for me to work at a higher level,” said the former AFC Wimbledon midfielder.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me; one that I felt I couldn’t turn down. The chairman has tried everything he can to convince me to stay, but I just feel at this time the opportunity gives me the chance to work at the best level I can, with ambitions of working even higher next year.
“I want to thank all of the supporters for their encouragement since I came in. Even though they couldn’t be with us I have felt their presence and I am grateful for that. I wish nothing but the best for everyone at Barnet Football Club moving forwards.”
Kleanthous, who is now searching for a fifth different manager in the space of ten months, added: “I was delighted with the progress we had made during Simon’s time at the club and was very keen to have him on board for the upcoming campaign.
“I am disappointed but understanding of Simon’s decision and I wish him well for the future. We will now go about making the right appointment to take us forward into pre-season and the campaign ahead.”
Whoever takes charge faces a significant rebuilding job after the Bees retained just eight members of last season’s squad. Goalkeeper Scott Loach, Lee Vaughan and Anthony Wordsworth were among 15 players released this week.