Coach out of running
HAVING guided the Ipswich Knights to within one point of Premier League promotion, Ian Carson was keen to coach the side again next season.
However, in a dramatic decision, Carson withdrew his application on the eve of the Knights annual presentation dinner on Saturday night.
After letting his players enjoy Saturday night's function at Swifts Sports Club, Carson yesterday said he wished the club well in its new direction.
While no new coach has been officially appointed for 2012, Carson sensed change was in the air.
But the passionate coach was adamant he was moving on without any bitterness.
"While I'm disappointed, that won't last long,'' Carson said, having done a superb job with the Knights top team this season.
"I found out Thursday that it looked like going in that direction.
"I was a little bit shocked but at the end of the day the club makes decisions that you have to sort of go with.
"I came from nowhere, had three great years.
"I can't ask for any more.''
Carson enjoyed finals success as Reserve grade coach, before stepping up this season to guide the Knights into third spot - just one point from being elevated to Premier League.
The Knights were the only side to consistently match top two outfits Queensland Lions and North Star.
Knights president Troy Beahan confirmed yesterday that a new coach would be announced this week.
After earning widespread respect among the top grade and Reserve grade players, Carson said he would still be around as a spectator.
"I can't thank the committee and the players enough,'' he said.
"I harbour no ill-feeling towards the club.
"They wanted me to be involved again in Reserve grade but that's a backward step.
"It wouldn't be right for a new bloke coming in anyway.
"Troy (Beahan) is the young man who is doing a tough job and he's got to make the tough decisions.''
Carson, 50, said the club needed to sort out the coaching situation as quickly as possible for the current players and to begin recruiting for next season.
"If we'd got promotion, I dare say I probably would have been there,'' Carson said. "But we didn't and now they have to put another plan into action.
"As long as they keep going in the right direction, they'll get there. Once they get there, they'll be hard to knock out.''
Carson hoped Knights goalkeeping coach Craig Reimers was retained for next season.
"If you want to keep going in the right direction, you've got to retain Craig Reimers,'' Carson said.
"He was sensational . . . to have another pair of eyes for us. He worked the boys hard, he's a very emotional guy and passionate.''
Karalee-based Carson - son of one of Ipswich's most successful football mentors Matt - had no immediate plans to coach in 2012.
"I'll see what happens,'' he said, hoping to spend some more fishing. "I'll just take some time off I guess.''