GEOFF Jones has been left “stunned” after being dismissed as Dunbar United manager just 10 days before the new season gets under way.

The long-serving boss was gearing up for another season at the helm of the East of Scotland Football League (EoSFL) Premier Division side but was phoned last Tuesday while on holiday.

He spoke to Courier Sport just hours after his departure was made official and said: “The timing is what has stunned me. The manner in which it is done, they are a board and I am not going to criticise people.

“I have long since learnt that football is not worth falling out over but there is a time and a way of doing things – and I don’t think [doing so] a week before the season starts via phone, while on holiday, displays a lot of integrity.”

Dunbar, who start the season on Saturday at Sauchie, have named Kevin Haynes as their new manager (see story right).

Last term, in a campaign heavily disrupted and ultimately curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, they were sitting 14th in the top flight of the EoSFL when the season was stopped.

Jones had spent the close season revamping his squad in a bid to ensure they kept their Premiership place, with half a dozen new signings coming in.

But he received a phone call from the committee while on a family holiday in Kent.

He said: “I was given no reason.

“They phoned me at 10pm on Tuesday, while on holiday, and asked me to resign, which I refused.

“I’ve slept on it and felt that would be wrong to the players to think I am walking away from the guys that I have signed, worked hard to bring to the club or to stay at the club.”

The 44-year-old was proud of his achievements with the Seasiders, where he played more than 400 games.

Returning from Haddington, he guided them to promotion, following in the footsteps of the Millfield side and Tranent Juniors.

He said: “Winning the league back when we were in the South Division is a highlight.

“We watched Haddington and Tranent win it the previous two years and we never lost a game from the start of January.

“Winning the league was a huge high.

“That will never be forgotten.

“We managed to get into the Premier Division the following year when we went to the East of Scotland League and that was a tough league.”

Jones was unsure what the future held for him and whether he would return to management. He added: “I never got into management to build a career and move or to try to get a higher level like some of my peers have done. I took the job because I love Dunbar.”

The club made the announcement last Wednesday afternoon, describing it as “an incredibly difficult decision”.

In a statement, club chairman Stuart Robertson said: “There are several factors which the board have reviewed before arriving at this conclusion.

“Principally the club’s performances over the past year, where on a points per game basis the club would have been relegated last season, and the overall progress made with improving the playing squad over the summer.

“Geoff has been an incredible servant for Dunbar United as a player who made 432 appearances and scored over 100 goals for the club, a captain for many years and most recently as manager.

“He has deservedly gained a great reputation for what he has achieved with the club, including two promotions, since taking over as manager.

“After a 22-year association, Geoff’s name is synonymous with Dunbar United. We cannot thank him enough for his contribution to the club.”