After 16 years and more than 900 games as a manager, the 46-year-old has had enough. Rather than continue making 100-mile round trips from his home to Bower Fold, he wants to watch his son, Niall, play in the Accrington Stanley youth team.
Watson informed Celtic chairman Rob Gorski on Wednesday and expected to step down immediately. However, he was persuaded to stay in charge for one more match after which the news would be announced to the supporters. Stalybridge ended up losing 3-1 to Gloucester — their fifth straight defeat out of six games.
“I contemplated retirement massively during the summer but I decided I would give it one more go,” said Watson.
“The crux of the matter was my son’s scholarship at Accrington, where’s he’s moved up from the schoolboy side, which plays on Sundays, to the youth side which plays on Saturdays.
“Last week, when I was with the Stalybridge team at Kidderminster, Niall was playing his first match. I should have been there to watch him but wasn’t.
“Although we lost our game, we put in a great display considering we had so many knocks. Later I texted the chairman saying we needed to bring in some players on loan and when I didn’t get an immediate answer the whole thing with Niall started to play on my mind.
“Also, at Stalybridge our ambition is just to stay up. At my other clubs that wasn’t the case. I’ve always been about winning things.
“The more I thought about the matter, the more I realised I wanted to be watching my lad instead of managing. My decision was made.
“I’m not saying I’ll never be involved in football in some capacity, but I can’t imagine ever seeing myself in a dug-out again. If I take on a new role it’ll be one where I get into the ground at five to three and leave at the final whistle.”
Tony Sullivan, Earl Davies and Dave Sullivan are sharing control of the first team for the Bank Holiday Monday game at Chorley. The Bower Fold directors have yet to decide on a plan of action but an announcement is expected in the next few days. Applications are already coming in even though the vacant manager's post has not yet been advertised.