Pascal Chimbonda lifts lid on chaotic six months at helm of Skelmersdale United FC

Pascal Chimbonda has registered as player-manager of Skelmersdale United
Skem were relegated after finishing at the foot of the table -Credit:skelmersdaleunited

A Premier League hero has lifted the lid on his chaotic first six months in management.

Former Tottenham, Wigan and Sunderland defender Pascal Chimbonda took charge of ninth-tier side Skelmersdale United, of the North West Counties Premier Division, in October. He inherited a team that hadn't won in 16 games and despite his best efforts, he failed to transform their fortunes.

Skem were relegated after finishing at the foot of the table and he has since been dismissed by the club. While it wasn't a successful reign, it was certainly an eventful one. His first match in charge saw him sent off for his part in a mass touchline brawl. Chimbonda was initially hit with a five-match stadium ban, subsequently reduced to three on appeal.

Explaining his role in the bust-up, he told Ladbrokes Fanzone: "Grassroots football is completely different to the professional game, in so many ways. You know, the big problem is the lack of security, so if fights break out on the pitch, or anything like that, there's no one there to step in and break things up."

"You, as a manager, have to go on the pitch and separate people. I did that in my first game in charge. I went on to separate our players, and then on the way back to the dugout, the other coach came over to confront me."

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"When people saw that, things kicked off again between the two sides, and that's why I got suspended for five games. It was all so mad, really, but that's it."

Chimbonda has vowed to learn from his ban though. He added: "During that suspension, I wasn't allowed in the dugout, or on the pitch, but I was allowed in the changing room, and they allowed me to be in the stands, which meant I could still be involved in some way."

"It's a good experience for me, though, and I know going forward I won't be making the same mistakes again when it comes to suspensions, or anything like that."

In another match, a 6-0 defeat, he was caught swearing 72 times during a half-time rant. Meanwhile, after a 10-1 loss at Bury, Chimbonda issued a public apology to supporters.

He also surprisingly registered himself as a player, five years after hanging up his boot. Explaining his decision, he said: "I signed as a player because I wanted to help my team on the pitch when I was available again."

"When you're stood on the pitch, it's so much easier to pass messages to team-mates, whereas communication from the bench is a little more difficult, especially at that level, because you're working with a group of players who haven't really played together."

Despite a rather chaotic tenure, Chimbonda insists he has no regrets about taking the role. He said: "I knew straight away that it was something I wanted to do. I saw it as a nice opportunity for a black manager to make his first step into football, and I'm still pleased I made that decision."

"My dream isn't just to be managing at a grassroots level. I want to manage a professional football club, as well."