RICHARD Whittington has quit as manager of Steyning Town Football Club to take over at division-higher Lancing.
Whittington admitted that Lancing – who he played more than 300 games for in goal – was the only club he would have left Steyning for and his assistant, Tom Gurney, will also be leaving Town to go to Lancers.
Whittington, 41, known as “Tricky” on the County League circuit, replaces Martin Gander, who stepped down as Lancing manager, at the end of the season.
In his two seasons in charge at Steyning, Whittington guided them to a 13th-placed finish in his first season in County League Division 2 and they then finished 10th last campaign, while also reaching the semi-finals of the Division 2 Cup.
Whittington said: “I’ve got mixed feelings about leaving Steyning, they’ve been great to me and I loved my time there, so I’m sad to go, but I’m excited and confident about the challenge awaiting me at Lancing.
“I wouldn’t have left for any other club but Lancing. I played more than 300 games for them and then went on to the coaching staff, so I’ve always got them in my heart and I love the set-up and people there.”
In a club statement, Steyning said: “It is with considerable reluctance that the committee have accepted the resignation of managerial duo Richard Whittington and Tom Gurney. They have been offered the first team managerial roles at Lancing FC and considered this too good an offer to turn down.
“Steyning Town recognise this is a fantastic opportunity for Richard and Tom to manage at a higher level and is just reward for the fantastic work they have done at our club over the past few seasons. They have had had some overseen some excellent results and progress on the field, bringing some pride and professionalism back to the club, and had also have contributed significantly to the development of the club off the field.
“Throughout this whole process they have kept the club fully informed of what was going on with Lancing FC, and have treated the situation with honesty and respect which we very much appreciate. We wish them all the very best for their time at Lancing FC and they will remain firm friends of Steyning Town.”
Steyning added: “Steyning Town Community Football Club are advertising for the positions of first team manager and assistant first team manager for the 2013/14 season.
“This is an excellent opportunity for a talented team to come in and build on the progress of the club’s football performances and development over recent seasons. The candidates will be expected to work with the existing managers and coaches within the club, who form an important part of our long term football development framework.
“The first team management will also oversee the management of the reserves team and the three under-18 teams for which there are already established personnel in place. The development of under 18’s players through to senior football is core to the clubs current development plans. The incoming candidates will also be expected to bring in players of suitable calibre to strengthen the existing squad with a view to improving on our mid table finish in the season just gone.
“Off the field, the club is on a stable footing and the work on developing the facilities continues. The club is in the process of applying for community club status with Sussex FA (only 13 clubs in the County have this status currently) and has recently merged with Steyning Strikers FC so we have one club right through from 6 year olds to adults covering over 300 players.
“The club is run efficiently on a tight budget overseen by a committee of eight people. The position does not come with a playing budget. The managerial team will also be expected to input to development off the pitch and support the social side of the club.
“If you are interested in applying or finding out more details please email details to chairman Carol Swain at firstname.lastname@example.org and also copy to email@example.com. Alternatively, Carol can be contacted on 07960 049340.”