Keighley confirm Paul March will leave the club after Sunday

Keighley Cougars have confirmed that coach Paul March will leave the club following Sunday’s game against York City Knights.

March has led the club to the iPro Sport Cup title this year but after failing to make the top five in League 1, it has been confirmed the Cougars will part company with March after this weekend.

In a statement, Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett called on all fans to come to the Knights clash on Sunday and thank March for his service as the club bid farewell to their coach.

“Despite the disappointment of this season, I ask all Cougar fans to come down and cheer the team on for the last time this season and say your farewells to Marchy,” he said.

“Marchy has been with the club for 5 years.  In 2012 as a player, then taking over as head coach at the end of 2012.  Despite being handed a weakened squad in 2013, due to the departure of some high-quality players, Marchy ensured we stuck in the Championship.

“In 2014 we fell victim to the dual-registration issue and, despite delivering the best season’s performance for a Cougars team since 1996, we were re-structured down into League 1.  In 2015 the club and Marchy dealt with the sad tragedy of Danny’s death and still came close to promotion.

“The road has been hard since 2012 and I feel Marchy deserves recognition for the tremendous work he has done on and off the pitch during this time. Many fans and sponsors didn’t see what Marchy did for the club off the pitch and what a big loss he will be for the club.  In my view, he deserves a big send off by our fans and sponsors.  Certainly the Executive Suite is absolutely rammed for Sunday so it would be very good to see the terraces the same way.”

Fawcett has also promised he will appoint March’s replacement within the next fortnight as Keighley plan for a promotion charge next year.

“Clearly there will have to be a genuine transformation of the squad and a new head coach will be appointed within the next two weeks,” he said. “We will look to be a top-five team next year as is expected of the Keighley Cougars, as a minimum.

“Sunday’s game against York represents our final game of what has been a hugely disappointing season. I felt that our pre-season recruitment for 2016 was second to none.  In particular, having come so close to promotion in what was the most difficult of all seasons last year, I did not want a repeat of the heartache in October.

“As a result we strengthened the squad to make sure of promotion and we were many pundits’ favourites for this. However, we have delivered the worst performance this season for well over a decade.”