Darlington: Brian Atkinson & Sean Gregan leave after five days in charge

Brian Atkinson (left) and Sean Gregan were Darlington team-mates in their old Football League days back in 1996
Brian Atkinson (left) and Sean Gregan were Darlington team-mates in their Football League days in 1996

Joint managers Brian Atkinson and Sean Gregan have left Darlington after only five days in charge.

The former Darlington players departed because of a "conflict of interest" involving recently departed boss Martin Gray, who resigned to take over at National League North rivals York City.

Former Sunderland midfielder Atkinson, 46, was told he cannot take the Darlington job because he is a director in a football academy run by former Quakers boss Gray.

Ex-Preston and West Brom midfielder Gregan, 43, opted to leave because he is "looking for greater security" than a contract until the end of the season.

A Darlington statement read: "Following consultation with the National League and the boards of Darlington FC and the Darlington FC Supporters Group, Brian has been told that he must stand down."

The Darlington FC Supporters Group added: "The DFCSG board have been fully consulted over the last few days and are satisfied that the decisions are in the best interests of Darlington Football Club.

"It's highly unfortunate that the opportunity for them to be joint managers of Darlington has been taken away from them by circumstances outside their control."

Senior players Phil Turnbull and Gary Brown will take charge of the side, who are 12th in the table.

Short managerial reigns

  • Straight after Mike Bateson chose Leroy Rosenior as Torquay United manager in 2007, he agreed to sell the club to a consortium, who sacked Rosenior 10 minutes after he had been appointed.
  • Much-travelled Dave Bassett had eight different clubs in 24 years, with the shortest stay being the five days he managed in 1984 during the first of two spells at Crystal Palace.
  • Swansea City have come a long way since youth coach Kevin Cullis was plucked from Cradley Town in 1996. He left after seven days.
  • Paul Gascoigne's time as a non-league manager lasted 39 days at Kettering Town in 2005.
  • Leeds United have had their share of short-lived tenures, with Brian Clough (1974) and Jock Stein (1978) lasting 44 days, while Dave Hockaday survived 70 days in 2014.