MARK Tallentire left Bracknell Town FC this week with his “head held high,” writes Dave Wright.

The manager’s departure from Larges Lane on Monday after nearly two years came as a shock to his players, coaching staff and fans as he had been one of the most successful managers in the Hellenic League club’s history.

Tallentire, a former Bracknell player, told the News: “It’s with a heavy heart that my time as manager of Bracknell Town has ended.

“I am so proud of my squad of players and how far we’ve come together over the past couple of years. My gratitude goes to all the staff at the club and to our amazing supporters. It really is a great place to be and a club to be very proud of.

“I hope my record there speaks for itself and feel that I can leave the club with my head held high.

“I wish the boys every success for the rest of the season. I believe we have a great squad at Bracknell and can go on to achieve great things.”

Having replaced Keith Pennicott-Bowen in October 2015, he guided the Robins out of relegation trouble and then last season he led them to runners-up spot in the Hellenic League Premier Division, having been top for much of the time. They also won three cup finals, giving them their first silverware in two decades.

This term, they won seven and drew one of their first eight league games before suffering their first defeat last Saturday when they lost 3-0 to Thatcham, where Pennicott-Bowen is now assistant manager.

It was Town’s poorest performance for a long time with Tallentire describing it as “way below our expectations.”

But he added: “We still have 30-odd games to go, so it’s not the end of the world. We have had a miles better start this year than we had last season.”

He added: “We have to bounce back and show the grit and character I know we’ve got in the dressing room.”

So it makes his sudden departure on Monday even more puzzling with chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse saying it was by “mutual agreement.”

His brief statement added: “The club would like to thank Tally for all his work and effort over the past two years. The club will not be making any further comment at this stage.”

The highly ambitious Steinborn-Busse, who wasn’t at the Thatcham game, is a powerful driving force behind the club, where last season close on £500,000 was spent on installing a 3G pitch, a new stand and rebuilding the clubroom and dressing rooms.

He recently said: “When you make bold changes and invest in the infrastructure like we have, it puts a massive target of expectation on everyone associated with the club on and off the field. The expectation and the responsibility on all our shoulders now are massive.”

Head coach Geoff Warner was due to take charge of the team in their derby at Ascot United last night (Tuesday).

“He is, in my opinion, without a doubt the best coach around and it has been a huge pleasure to work with him,” commented Tallentire.

Warner joined Bracknell in June of last year from Evo-Stick Southern League club Beaconsfield SYCOB, having previously been involved with the academies at professional clubs Reading, Crystal Palace and Fulham.

Meanwhile, Bracknell Town have been drawn at home to Buckingham Athletic in the first round of the FA Vase, with the game to be played on Saturday, October 21.