Top coach Dave Webster has decided to call time on his 25-year association at Connaught Squash Club ending one of the most successful partnerships in Essex squash history.
Dave is founder and driving force behind the Double Dot Squash Academy which has become a veritable production line for players who have gone on to represent their club, county and country. The Connaught junior section has long been recognised as one of the most successful programmes in the country with literally thousands of kids being introduced to squash in Dave’s quarter-of-century coaching at the Chingford club.
Unhappy members have petitioned Connaught to broker an agreement and re-instate Dave, who tendered his resignation after the club decided to re-structure coaching arrangements. It is believed that one issue in the disagreement was the decision not to recognise Dave as the Head Coach.
The appeal, which was circulated to club members, states:
I, the undersigned, am writing to express my disappointment with the Connaught Club and the Squash Committee for its decision to remove Dave Webster as the squash coach in Connaught. The Club’s decision will affect the lives of many junior players who are ranging from county to national levels. All the achievements are solely because of Dave.
I am also disappointed that we were not informed of this important decision, even though my children are junior members of the Club. The Club has a duty of care and responsibility in such matters to its members, young and old. Whatever the differences between the Club and Dave, they can surely be resolved through communication and compromise in the best interest of the juniors as well as the Club.
Many Connaught squash juniors are part of Essex County players. As the Club must be aware, there aren’t many decent squash clubs and coaches this end of Essex, who put their heart and soul into junior progression. Dave has done this!
His elimination from the Club is UNFAIR AND UNTIMELY especially when the juniors have experienced a difficult year and are excitedly getting ready to get back in action! BRING BACK DAVE! BRING BACK DAVE! BRING BACK DAVE!
Connaught today released the following statement:
As you may be aware, Dave Webster who has been a coach and is a dear friend of many members at The Connaught Club, has made the decision to resign from his squash coaching duties.
The Club would like to place on record its heartfelt thanks to Dave for all of his hard work and efforts throughout his time with the Club. Dave has done an outstanding job coaching juniors, providing adult one-to-one and group sessions, running the ladies sessions and club night over many years, and his involvement will be sadly missed by the Club.
The Club would like to take this opportunity to make it absolutely clear that at no point did anyone at the Club wish for Dave to resign, and were not seeking to make any changes to his existing contract.
The Club has made significant investment in the physical fabric of the Squash court area to assist with the future stability of the section, and Dave was viewed as a major part of its future. In order to maximise the Clubs offerings to the section members, whether this be complete beginners or elite players, the Club must strive to provide all members with the best possible opportunities for progression, and the Club feel that where necessary, the section would benefit from having a wider group of coaches offering additional training options and opportunities to our members and guests. Dave was reassured that he is an integral part of the squash section, and as part of the squash committee, would be fully involved with any decision making and would retain complete control of the academy players, whilst receiving more support than ever before. Regrettably, Dave did not share this view and even though we tried incredibly hard to convince him otherwise, the end result was Dave’s resignation.
We sincerely hope that Dave will stay in touch with all his many friends at the Club.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
The Connaught Club
Ahead of the Connaught statement, another club member said: “I think there has to a recognition that the club needs to come terms with Dave. In the years Dave has been at the club, it’s reputation has been enhanced and built further- Financially as well as playing wise. That needs to be reflected in how the club manages the difference of opinion. . It’s not easy to manage change and I know for a fact the committee have done some great work on the courts, refurbishing the carpets, TVs etc. I know they do want him to stay but the terms are not acceptable to Dave and so the committee has to move to him. My view is that he has always been the Head Coach and the boss of the section and whilst pieces of paper may say differently, it’s the spirit rather than the letter of the law that should prevail. Just my thoughts and I hope agreement can be made. If not then that’s to the detriment of the club, the section and it’s members. At the moment it’s a shocking way end the relationship and I hope that changes.”
Dave, a Level 3 England coach, has long been associated with the Essex county junior programme helping to coach and mentor many of our teams in Inter-Counties events. His knowledge and experience are only surpassed by an unquenchable enthusiasm for the game which has helped make Dave a prized asset almost impossible to replace.