WORTHING United Football Club chairman Gary Downie believes exciting times lie ahead after appointing Jason Rutherford and Lloyd Saunders as the new management team.
Rutherford returns to Lyons Way for his second spell as manager and Saunders joins him as joint manager at United after three years in charge at County League Division 2 Southwick. Paul Curtis, who finished last season as manager, will stay on as a coach and the club will also run a reserve side again next season.
Rutherford has been out of the game since deciding to take a break in December, when he had been joint manager at Shoreham, and he is looking forward to the upcoming season.
Despite finishing bottom last season, United are hopeful of staying in County League Division 1 when the constitution for next season is decided and a campaign in the top flight of Sussex football, with a side mixed with youth and experience, is what the new management team is planning for.
Rutherford said: “Last time I was here (2009-10), we got let down a bit because we got promoted and then the league suddenly said we couldn’t go up into Division 1 because of the ground gradings.
“We’d got everything done to the ground but they said it wasn’t done in time, so, in a way, there’s unfinished business here and I think we’ll enjoy it. Looking at the pitch now and the facilities, they’re decent for this level.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back involved. It’s going to be an open division next year and most teams will beat each other but you never know how it’s going to pan out.
Saunders added: “We’re not trying to set the world alight straight away, but you never know. We’ll see what comes up and if we can attract a few players in, a few more players might come and we’re both looking forward to it. Hopefully, the club certainly won’t be where it was last year, that’s 100 per cent.
“You know Jason’s track record and he will get teams to play. He’s been there and done it and that’s a good thing and we’ve worked together for a few years now.
“We’ll have a look at the players who were here last year and will invite them all back. And we’ve got an under-19 side, which will be the reserves, and there might be a couple in there who can play in the first team, so we’re just going to give it our best shot and that’s all you can do.
“Paul Curtis staying on as coach is a bonus and Martyn Rea is staying here and they’re all good, experienced people.
“It was hard for me last year (at Southwick) but it’s a new challenge up here.”
Downie said: “I’ve been chasing Jason for a couple of months now and Lloyd as well and we’ve done well to seal them for the next few seasons, hopefully, and exciting times lie ahead for all of us.
“It was a tough season last season but with the circumstances, which I’ve said about before, we had to do it.
“We don’t know what division we will be in next season yet, it’s a wait and see game. Whatever division we are in, Jason knows the circumstances, as does Lloyd, but we’ve geared up for both divisions to have a good crack of being in the top six or eight. If we’re in Division 2, we’d look to be higher than that and in Division 1, we’d look to be around the top ten.”