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Baird lifts Spitfires 'cloud'

By Wendy Gee -  

IAN Baird was feeling too under the weather to properly savour signing a contract for Eastleigh yesterday.

Baird had to miss training last night so as not to spread the virus to his players ahead of tomorrow's vitally important Blue Square Bet South showdown at home to promotion rivals Chelmsford City.

He did, however, pop into the Silverlake Stadium earlier in the day to put paper on a two-year deal that will keep him at Stoneham Lane until the end of 2012/13.

For Baird it draws a line under weeks of uncertainty prompted by the club's admission that they considered other managerial options before unanimously voting 15-0 in favour of keeping the status quo.

"I'm pleased to have signed a new contract," said Baird. There's been a cloud over the club for the last six or seven weeks with lots of hearsay and 'he said this' and 'she said that'.

"But as far as I'm concerned, the club is showing it's commitment to me by giving me a contract and also (head coach) Matty Gray.

"Matty is an unsung hero and does a hell of a lot of work.

"Him getting a contract is testament to all he's done for the club over the last three and a half years.

"He's put a lot of hard work and miles for not much reward."

Some Eastleigh fans question the timing of Baird's contract extension, arguing that it would have been wiser to see how the season pans out first.

But Director of Football Dave Malone says it's all about stability.

"The easiest thing would have been to give Ian another year and go from there, but we want stability and we want to build for the future," he explained. "Having considered our options and looked at possible ways forward, we concluded that we weren't doing a lot wrong.

"Bairdy's doing a good job and we've got a good chance of getting into the play-offs. We've had testing times like every other club, but rather than jeopardise what we've built here, we've chosen to stay as we are.

"It's not just Bairdy, we've also got an excellent back room staff.

"In fact I'd say we've got the best team of people, if not in the entire league then certainly of any club locally.

"We've got round pegs in round holes.

"Yes, we could have brought someone in who might have brought something new to the party, but it wasn't something we wanted to contemplate.

"We want to carry on what we've started and we're all very excited about the future."


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