Former Holbeach United manager Seb Hayes has opened up on the reasons behind his shock resignation on New Year’s Eve.
With the Tigers revealing that he walked away from Carter’s Park due to “personal reasons”, Hayes felt it was time to set the record straight.
In an honest and revealing interview, Hayes admits that he went into the 2018/19 season in a bad way mentally due to a worrying skin cancer scare that came just weeks after he and his partner tragically lost a baby.
Life then got even tougher for the self-employed boss when he went a period of seven weeks without being paid in the run up to Christmas.
Hayes openly accepts that his personal life spilled over into his role as Holbeach boss, as he slowly descended into darkness and became an unrecognisable figure in the dugout and dressing room.
With numerous clubs complaining about his conduct – which he describes as aggressive and rude – the former Huntingdon Town chief says that that his behaviour reached an all-time low following the defeat at Deeping Rangers on December 29.
After losing his cool in the dressing room in an incident that he describes as “embarrassing” Hayes’ close friend Wayne Oldaker told him that he needed to walk away from the job.
Despite insisting he’ll always love the club, Hayes took that advice on-board and tendered his resignation the following day, which was reluctantly accepted by the Tigers some 24 hours later.
“I feel like I need to set the record straight,” said the 42-year-old. “I love Holbeach United and I’d not reveal so much personal information if that wasn’t the case.
“My problems started in the summer. My partner and I suffered a miscarriage and lost our baby in July – which hit us hard, as you can imagine.
“A few weeks later I had a scare with skin cancer, which was also very tough. My head just wasn’t right when it came to football, but regardless we had a good pre-season.
“I just don’t think I ever recovered from that. Even getting the all-clear (from skin cancer) and the positive results on the field didn’t really lift the gloom for me.
“I then had a problem with my work. I’m self-employed and wasn’t paid once in a seven-week period, which obviously put massive strain on me and my family running up to Christmas.
“From a footballing perspective, I think the first time I personally noticed that things weren’t right was at Wodson Park in the FA Vase. I had my iWatch on that day and my heart rate was at 150bpm.
“From then I was getting very anxious and stopped going to the bar with players and fans after games. I also became very aggressive on the sideline and my behaviour was far from appropriate for a manager of this club.
“I’d always had good relationships with a number of the players, too. But I started to close myself off from them and that created fractures in the dressing room.
“I’m a private person, but I did tell a few people I was struggling. But that didn’t stop it spilling over onto match day and I grew more and more frustrated. That came to a head after the Deeping game, when I was an idiot in the dressing room afterwards.
“Wayne Oldaker, who is one of my best friends, came to me and told me I had to leave. When I heard that from him, I knew I had to go.
“I had embarrassed myself and it was the worst I can remember myself being. I could have stayed until the end of the season, but I would probably have tarnished my reputation and the job I’ve done at Holbeach.”
Despite the nature of his departure from Holbeach, Hayes insists that he’s proud of what he achieved in his two years at the club.
He managed 66 wins from 106 matches, won the Lincs FA Senior Trophy, managed a fourth-place finish and reached four cup semi-finals.
Hayes wants to return to football management in the future and has ambitions to win the Future Lions UCL Premier Division. But, for now at least, he’s focused on getting himself right.
“I think my record is a very good one, “ he added. “I’ve won a trophy with all three UCL Premier Division teams I’ve managed – all that is missing is the league!
“I feel like I’ve kept on-budget and helped open up a pathway for youngsters to play football at Holbeach, too.
“I came to the club when it was having a difficult time, but feel proud to leave it in a much stronger position. I certainly feel that the team I’ve built will go on and win a trophy.
“I’ll be back at some point. Maybe I’ll do some scouting to keep my foot in the door, but I’m not going to rush into the first managerial job that comes my way.
“Hopefully all at the club will come to look back at my time there with fondness, as I genuinely love the club.
“I know I was stubborn at times and asked way too much of the players, but that’s just who I am. Hopefully they’ll remember the good times and not the person I became towards the end, because that wasn’t who I want to be.”