A DEFIANT Paul Kee insists he will refuse to resign as manager of Institute Football Club despite pressure from the terraces following his side’s relegation from the Irish Premiership on Saturday afternoon.
A first half penalty from Ballymena United’s Alan Teggart and a Mark Forker own goal in the second half were enough to condemn ‘Stute to a swift return to Championship One, despite Stephen Curry’s 45th minute equaliser.
And with nearest rivals Warrenpoint Town securing a 1-1 draw at Dungannon Swifts, the defeat left ‘Stute nine points adrift at the bottom with just two games to go.
Kee was disappointed with referee Stephen Taylor’s performance on the day and for being ‘hoodwinked’ into awarding what he deemed a dubious penalty but it was ultimately the club’s failure to win any of their last 24 league games which decided their fate.
‘Stute boss, Kee said he will now sit down with members of the Institute Board in the next couple of weeks to decide his future. However, he was adamant that he wants to remain at the helm and attempt to mastermind a rapid return to the Premiership next season.
“I’ll have to sit down and see what’s happening,” said Kee. “I’ll not deny that there is a bit of discontentment behind the scenes. There’s people disappointed with the manager. I appreciate to not win in 23 games is not acceptable - I understand that.
“But I have worked tirelessly this year and it’s been difficult for me personally but people don’t take that into consideration. There’s a lot of effort and expense with very little reward and I don’t think that’s been respected in certain quarters.
“I’ve given it my best and I know as the manager I’ll be taking the hit because that’s the way football is and I understand that,” he added. “We’ll see what happens in the next couple of weeks but I won’t be resigning - there’s no chance of that! There’s a job to be done.
“There’s a good possibility the club will lose certain players to the Premiership so it’s going to be a rebuilding process for the club unless they invest.”
Kee claimed poor refereeing decisions cost his side in the region of 12 points during the course of the season and he believes his side were ‘easy targets’ for certain referees.
“We conceded a couple of soft goals against Ballymena and the first one on Saturday just epitomises our season. That’s four penalties we’ve conceded against Ballymena this year - one every game.
“Allan Jenkins has thrown himself to the ground for the penalty and an inexperienced referee hasn’t spotted it,” said Kee. “Matty Young is half the size of him and Jenkins was being theatrical.
“That’s one thing I’ll not miss about the Premiership and that’s the standard of officials who have been really poor. We’ve been at the wrong end unfortunately because we have a small team and we’re an easy target.
“It’s been a problem for us all year and we haven’t been able to shake it off.”
I’ve given it my best and I know as the manager I’ll be taking the hit because that’s the way football is and I understand that. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of weeks but I won’t be resigning - there’s no chance of that! There’s a job to be done.Paul Kee
Kee did admit, however, that his side simply weren’t good enough throughout the season having failed to replace the early season goals of experienced hitman Stephen O’Flynn who moved to Crusaders in January.
“But we’re bottom for a reason. We’ve given away too many goals and we haven’t scored enough. We’ve come up a wee bit short but the players have give it their best. Decisions have probably cost us 12 points,” he claimed. We haven’t been good enough and quite a lot of the officiating hasn’t been good enough either.
That has been disappointing and if we were a dozen points better off and quite a lot of those points were against Ballymena.”