A key cog in Route One Rovers’ recent success has gone, after manager Sohail Abbas confirmed his departure from the club on Tuesday.

It comes as a blow to the Bradford side, who achieved an 8th place NWCFL (First Division North) finish in their first ever season in semi-professional football last term, while they only finished five points off the play-offs.

Abbas, the world’s first wheelchair-bound football coach in the able-bodied game, in the previous year, had guided Rovers to a historic Amateur League treble.

However, his time at the Bradford side has come to an end, and Abbas will look to pursue further opportunities in his coaching career.

Speaking to the T&A regarding his departure from the club, he said: “Me, my coaching team and the club decided together that it would be good for us to part ways.

“It felt like the chapter had already been written and it was a case of thinking, what more can actually be done?

“I wanted to go in one direction and the club wanted to go in another, so our ideas didn’t quite align.”

Abbas added: “I felt like I wanted to really push on and try to get us moving up the leagues after having a successful first year in semi-professional football.

“However, it seemed the club were content with where they were at.

“For me, football is about moving forward and always wanting to improve. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the same vision as one another, so that’s why the decision came about.

“Realistically, it was best that we parted ways.”

Asian Image: Route One Rovers celebrate their Yorkshire Amateur League title winning campaign which saw them win a trebleRoute One Rovers celebrate their Yorkshire Amateur League title winning campaign which saw them win a treble (Image: Submitted)

Despite his exit from the club, Abbas feels Route One are in a good position to remain a strong force in the NWCFL First Division North.

He said: “I feel that my coaching team and I have left the club and the team in a really good state, and in a position where they should be fine and able to compete strongly in the division next season.

“The chairman at the club, Sameel Mahmood, is brilliant and he will continue to give support to any manager who comes in.

“He is a top, top chairman and he’ll show interest in this squad and club for as long as he’s there.

“Of course, the squad is a very good one too, probably the best I’ve worked with. So, that will always benefit a club in the long run.

“In the four years I’ve been here, the standard and level that some of these boys have gone up to is extraordinary.

“They’re dedicated and eager to learn, and I’m sure that they’ll be willing to learn from the next person who comes in.

“So, I think they’ll be just fine.”

Discussing his next steps in his coaching career, Abbas admitted: “I’ve had a couple of offers along with my team since the announcement on Tuesday, but they weren’t ones that stood out.

“I haven’t had a break since starting with the club four years ago, so having a bit of time to myself is something that appeals to me at the moment.

“It will give me time to mull over any potential offers and it will give me time to think about my next steps in my coaching career.

“My next club has to be right for me, and the project will have to appeal to me. I want to continue on my journey and push through the divisions, so my choice will be very important."

Asian Image: Sohail Abbas (central) is currently evaluating which job to take nextSohail Abbas (central) is currently evaluating which job to take next (Image: Submitted)

Giving his thanks to Route One Rovers for his time at the club, Abbas said: "I've had an amazing time at Route One, some of the best memories in my career so far.

"I'd like to thank the players, the chairman and my coaching staff who have all been magnificent to work with.

"And finally the fans, who have been with us from our Amateur days right up until now; their support has never stopped growing and they've been with us every step of the way.

"I wish the club the best for the future and I hope they can push on next season. I'll remember my time at Route One forever."