IT was a huge shock to everyone at Barnoldswick Town when manager Endrit Shehu resigned last week, but he admitted his love for the club is still strong, and he hopes to go back and coach there soon.

Town began the North West Counties League Premier Division season with a fine 3-2 win over Squires Gate, but have since lost five games in a row to drop to second-bottom.

Shehu admitted it was a combination of poor form and the new national lockdown which made his mind up.

He said: “It was completely my decision to leave. No-one really expected it, I didn’t even tell the chairman.

“I announced it to the players after the game last Tuesday (a 2-1 home defeat to Burscough) and then told the club.

“They didn’t want to accept my resignation and asked me to take some time off and rethink the decision, but my mind was made up.”

Shehu added: “The results created that negative environment and I just wasn’t really enjoying it.

“It’s been a weird campaign, because we had a long eight or nine weeks of pre-season, had a good start, then the results have not been great.

“With this second lockdown coming, I’ve just not got the energy and passion to get myself and the team motivated to go again afterwards.

“I had to prioritise my private life.”

Shehu was gushing in his praise for Barnoldswick and everyone involved with the club.

He even admitted he hoped the timing of his resignation would benefit them.

He explained: “The club have been so good to me and this lockdown gives them a break from matches, and time to get someone else in.

“It also allows them to see what kind of manager they want in.

“It gives me the time to think about what I want to do next too.”

Shehu is still only young, and had forged a burgeoning reputation as a coach before taking the top job at Barnoldswick.

Asked what was next for him, he said: “I really enjoyed being a manager. It was tough but I learnt loads.

“I’d never say never to being a manager again, but maybe at this stage in my career, I would like to be a No.2 in a higher league.”

In one final message to the club, Shehu said: “Barnoldswick have been part of my life for the past three seasons (firstly as a coach, then as manager).

“I’ve really enjoyed it, and the club have always given me support, time and help.

“I’ve actually asked the club if I can go back and coach the juniors once the lockdown is over, just to get hands on again, and they’re up for that.

“It’s a good relationship I have with them and the door is always open for me.

“I want to stay in touch with them as much as I can, because they’ve been amazing to me.”

Barnoldswick will hope to have a new manager at the helm ahead of their next scheduled league game, away to Northwich Victoria on December 5.