This morning’s announcement that the two men had taken over at Buxton came less than 24 hours after Silverlands chairman Dave Hopkins had contacted his Surrey Street counterpart, Dave Atkinson, to ask for permission to speak to the duo. They replace Martin McIntosh, who was sacked at the start of February.
Admitting his surprise at the speed of the swoop, Mr Atkinson said: “Dave came to one of our games a couple of weeks ago but I thought nothing of it. He rang me yesterday and then again this morning to say that Paul and Steve had accepted his offer. It all happened over night.
“I suppose they’ve gone for the two obvious reasons. They’ve jumped up a division and I can only assume they’ll have more money.”
Phillips quoted ambition as the reason for the move — a perceived lack of it at Surrey Street as opposed to his and Halford’s personal wish to do better.
“I don’t want to knock Glossop North End or show the club any disrespect, but I just don’t think the people there had the same ambition as myself and Akkers. Quite frankly it surprised me that they didn’t want to push on,” Phillips explained.
“People used to tell me how they’d got to two FA Vase finals but they were in the North West Counties League when that happened. They’re at a different level now and the off-field activities are well behind what’s been happening on the field.
“At Buxton things are different. They have a club mentality and they have a winning mentality. They want promotion to National League North and to establish themselves there. They’re offering us a platform to work from.
“I don’t feel Glossop are read to push on to a higher level but that’s where Steve and I want to manage.
“Even so, I have a lot of respect for the club and I don’t want to burn any bridges. Steve and I asked Buxton to make sure everything was done right. We’re more than happy to allow Mark Canning to stay and take training on Thursday, and to look after the team on Saturday when South Shields are at Surrey Street.”
Glossop’s directors will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) night to decide on their course of action and plan to issue a statement the following morning. Mr Atkinson revealed he had already had seven applications for the job, three of which were from managers who missed out last summer.
Weighing up Phillips and Halford’s time in charge, he said: “After a good start, there was a bit of a dip. The last eight games weren’t brilliant and we slipped into midtable, but things looked a lot worse on paper than they did if you actually saw the games.
“At Tadcaster the team was destroyed by a flu bug. At Colne, although it was the same for both sides, the pitch was awful. It was like playing on porridge. We did much better against Ossett Town but conceded an own goal. Then there was a mistake against Atherton Collieries.
“Last Saturday we had a reasonable side out and beat Goole. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction again and we were looking forward to the South Shields game. Then this happens, but that’s football.”