With eight games left to play, Stalybridge Celtic are second-bottom of Vanarama North and five points adrift of safety. Having surveyed the situation, and the effects of a nine-match run without a win, Briggs decided someone else might be better equipped to save the club and, yesterday (Sunday), handed in his resignation.
“It was a very, very difficult decision,” he explained. “People who know me and my character, or who remember me as a player, know what I’m like. They know I’m not the sort of person who throws in the towel.
“But the final nail in the coffin was our performance on Saturday when we lost 1-0 at Bradford Park Avenue. I thought to myself that if I stepped aside there would still be time for someone else to turn things round and get a reaction from the squad. I think Stalybridge Celtic deserve that.”
Briggs took over at Bower Fold in October, 2013, having spent a successful time there as a player in 2008-10. He was a popular choice but somehow he could never get the team firing on all cylinders.
Last year Celtic survived relegation by the skin of their teeth. This season, they seemed to be finally gaining momentum when they won four consecutive matches over Christmas. Bridge looked to be comfortably in midtable but they have taken only two points from the last 27 and have lost their last three games.
Briggs, who is widely acknowledged as a first-class coach, is at a loss as to why things failed to work out.
“I’m completely baffled. I put my heart and soul into the club. I worked night and day to make a success of things but we just didn’t get the results. I was very particular in the way I went about the job and I know the players enjoyed training. I really don’t think I could have done anymore.
“But what’s happened hasn’t shaken my self-belief. I know I’m a good coach and that I have the capabilities to be a good manager. I know that the players have improved under my coaching and although the results don’t show it there is a lot of ability at the club.
“Unfortunately, they’re young lads and needed longer. They needed to develop mentally and physically.
“Now, for the first time in 25 years I’ll be watching Jeff Stelling do the results on Sky on a Saturday afternoon instead of being involved.
“I really do hope all goes well at Stalybridge Celtic because they’re a great club and I received 100 per cent support.
“You never know what the future may hold but there’s only one word to describe the way I feel at the moment – distraught.”