Gary Setchell refused to use the shock departure of King’s Lynn Town assistant manager Neil Fryatt as an excuse for his side’s defensive debacle at St Neots on Tuesday.
Linnets stalwart Fryatt – Setchell’s associate for almost five years – informed Lynn’s chief that he was stepping down from his role on Sunday.
Fryatt’s decision came less than 24 hours after Setchell had publicly blamed Fryatt’s son Ryan for costing his side two points at home to Merthyr on the opening day of the season.
With long-term fixture Neil absent from the bench and Ryan missing with a foot injury against the Saints, the Linnets turned in perhaps their worst defensive display of Setchell’s tenure against a side who narrowly avoided relegation last season.
But Setchell, whose side were comprehensively thumped 5-2, said: “It would be silly to say that the lads defended absolutely diabolically because Neil has left the club.
“I don’t think him leaving had any bearing on the result.
“We weren’t brave on the ball and wasn’t brave without it.
“We were inept and we’ve got to take more responsibility as a group.
“That just wasn’t good enough and I’ve got to get one or two bodies in as soon as possible.
“It’s not often I feel sorry for the supporters but tonight I did as I feel we let them down.”
Tomorrow, the Linnets travel to newly-promoted and currently unbeaten Banbury looking to bounce straight back.
“Saturday is a massive fixture for us now,” admitted Setchell. We’ve got to go there, roll up our sleeves and try to get a result.”
Fryatt played for the Linnets for 15 years. After leaving The Walks he enjoyed a successful seven-year spell with Swaffham Town before moving on to become player-coach at Downham Town.
He returned to his hometown club in 2006 to concentrate on his coaching career, helping the youth and reserve teams until Lynn were wound-up.
Fryatt then helped Jonathan Hawes with the club’s reserve team until Setchell came calling after joint-boss Kevin Boon quit in October 2011.
Setchell was quick to play down any rumours of a rift between Fryatt and him following the St Neots defeat.
“We had a blow, Neil’s left the football club,” said Setchell.
“He rung me on Sunday. He’s got to dedicate more time to his wife and family. He’s rung me up and said that he’s been 46 years in football and it’s personal reasons for him.
“I don’t want to talk about it too much as he wants to spend more time with his wife.
“She’s been a football widow, if you like, for a number of years. Neil said towards the end of last season and this season he hoped he’d get his spark back but he just said he felt flat.
“I told him the door is always open for him as Neil and me are still friends.
“We’ll go for a curry next wekk, me and Millsy (Gary Mills), and it’s a shame.
“But the door is open for him whenever he wants to come back to the football club.”