Sean Pemberton steps down as Bluebirds' coach

Sean Pemberton at the start of this seasonSean ‘Pembs’ Pemberton became the second member of Haverfordwest County’s managerial set-up to leave after stepping down as coach from the role he started this season as he told that his transition from player to coach hadn’t gone quite as he hoped.
“To be honest there is still a part of me that feels I could still play; perhaps not at the level of the JD Cymru League but down the pyramid in the JD Cymru South or even with some of my old mates playing in the Carmarthenshire League as a way of being able to play the game I still love for just a while longer.
“There would still be time for me to return to coaching, if I wanted to, but at the moment I still have a football-playing itch that needs scratching!
“I am surprised that I have already had a few phone calls but I’m nowhere near being match fit so that would have to be my first priority before I think of making any decisions.”

Sean in action

Loved by all at The Bridge Meadow – especially the supporters

Known to at The Bridge Meadow Stadium as ‘Pembs’, he stepped down as a player at the end of last season after almost a decade and 259 matches, with well over half of them as captain and inspirational leader, whose aerial strength and commitment at the back, allied to the ability to score vital set-piece goals, saw him frequently chosen post-season for the JD Cymru South ‘Select Team’.
His contribution was also recognised by The Bluebirds because in his time with them he was the winner three times each of the ‘Players’ Player of the Year’, the ‘Manager’s Player of the Year’ and the ‘Supporters’ Club Player of the Year’ by a large majority each time.
His rise to success was all the more praiseworthy because, apart from a short stint in the lower reaches of the old Welsh League with Newcastle Emlyn, he had only played football in the local league – and actually needed persuading by manager Wayne Jones that he was good enough to join Haverfordwest County!

Always getting stuck in

Couldn’t have played for a better club

Ask Pembs about his time at Haverfordwest County and he would be quick to say that he couldn’t have played for a better club, with wonderful support from everyone.

“I’ve been lucky to have David Hughes and now Rob Edwards as chairman and ‘Wolvesey’ and Sean Cresser as managers – and the supporters have taken me into their hearts from the very start so I still feel very much at home there.
“I will miss travelling down to training and matches with Wayne and the great camaraderie amongst the players but I won’t miss all the travel to North Wales for games against the likes of Caernarvon, Connah’s Quay and New Saints, which often mean an overnight stop.
“I have some great memories, like the time we were relegated from the Premier League but managed to bounce back straight away – and the most remarkable win came when we travelled to Aberdare needing to win by five clear goals to gain promotion to the JD Cymru Premier and won 5-0 – now there was some celebrating that night!”
It was typical of Sean that once Wayne Jones left he agreed to join Jazz Richards in running the team on a temporary basis but made sure his resignation as coach came before new manager Nicky Hayen was announced.
“I wish Nicky every success but I thought that if I waited until he came and then I went there would be speculation that would have not focussed on his start but on a load of rubbish about my going, so I went at the right time!”

Making the long walk before his last game

And finally . . .

From our perspective at it is no secret that Sean has long been our favourite player at Haverfordwest County because of his total commitment, never shirked a challenge and has that natural leadership quality that allows him to lift the spirits of those around him.
He has a great sense of humour and always tries to play down his contribution, preferring to praise others instead. When he had his big moment walking out on the pitch through a guard of honour for his final recognition he was less than comfortable and it has been hard to find a replacement as a player and captain.
Sean’s final words to us summed up his contribution to Haverfordwest County for the past decade:
“Rob (Edwards) was brilliant in giving me the chance to coach and I love the club so I can leave it with my head held high and I am looking forward to cheering them on whenever I can because I love the club and all it stands for in Welsh Football.”

Receiving the supporters club award from Kevin Haldane