Martin Swales steps down as manager of Sunderland RCA
Martin Swales has stepped down as manager of Ebac Northern League Division One club Sunderland RCA.
The former Ryhope CW boss tendered his resignation to the club’s committee on Monday morning and the RCA players were informed of the decision hours later.
Swales was named as RCA manager in September 2014 and helped establish the club in the Northern League’s top tier.
A fourth-placed finish and a run to the FA Cup second qualifying round in the 2017/18 season marked a high-point of his tenure and that was followed up by a fifth-placed finish twelve months later.
Swales also helped RCA reach the last 16 of the FA Vase for the first time in their history in 2016 and repeated the feat a year later before Newport Pagnell Town ended their Wembley dreams.
Swales reflected on his time in charge with great pride and revealed that non-footballing matters were the major factor in his decision to step down.
He told The Echo: “We have had some great times, finishing top six and going on some great Vase runs.
“It’s been a pleasure to be manager of the club, it’s been a great feeling and it’s been an honour.
“The club has changed so much and there is only one player in the squad that was there when we came in.
“It shows how much we have changed.
“I thank the committee, the staff, my coaches and the players for everything they have done during my time at the club.
“I think they appreciate how far we have come but life changes.
“This isn’t a football decision, it’s about other big factors in my life.
“I have two grandchildren now and my personal life has moved on.
“If I was going to do the job, I would want to put everything in and I can’t commit to that.”
Swales believes that his departure will lead to significant interest in the vacancy he has left behind.
His decision to step down three months ahead of the new Northern League season will give a new RCA manager an opportunity to settle in and implement their ideas before the competitive action returns in August.
Swales will maintain a keen interest in the future of his former club and expressed his hope to see his successor help the club challenge at the top end of the league.
“I’ll maintain an interest, I love the club, it means everything to me, it has grown on me,” said Swales.
“Whoever comes in will come into a great job.
“There’s a great setup and there will be some good people that will want the job.
“RCA have been in the first division for a long time, it’s a good club, it’s a well-ran club and there are people that will always have the club at heart.
“It’s an ambitious club and I would like to think they can challenge at the top end of the league again once the new manager comes in.”