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Down Out – Manley In At Chard

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Toolstation Western League First Division club Chard Town have announced that manager Paul Down is to step down from his post to be replaced by Jamie Manley.

In a fast-moving situation at the weekend, Chard chairman Lyndsay Gage announced the changes while thanking Down for doing a “fabulous job”.

Down told the club`s Pitchero website: “I leave Chard with great memories and, I believe, in a much healthier position than when I took over.

“I don’t have anything lined up for next season and that was not the reason I stepped down.

“It would have been difficult for me to continue for another season, with no promotion or FA competition games to play.

“I think it is vital the ground situation is concluded to enable the next manager to achieve these targets.

“It has been a pleasure and honour to have managed Chard Town FC; I wish them every success in the future.”

Chard chairman Lyndsay Gage was full of praise for the retiring manager, saying: “Paul came at a time when the club was at its lowest ebb and has done a fabulous job in putting a competitive side out on the pitch.

“We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

The players are due to be introduced to their new management team tomorrow night.

Manley, 42, spent fourteen years at Sherborne Town and captained the side for many seasons.

He started as a YTS player with Yeovil Town and then played for Chard, Bridport and Gillingham Town in the Western League.

Manley replaced Mickey Spencer as player-manager in November 2011 and, in the 2012/13 season, led Sherborne back into the Premier Division of the Western League as champions of the First Division.

As a result, he won the manager of the year award as well as leading Sherborne to runners-up spot in the Dorset Senior trophy.

Manley left Sherborne in 2016.

He will bring with him as assistant Kevin Leigh, a previous manager at Sherborne.

Leigh was also assistant to Bob Russell for five years in the late 1990s, when Chard were in the Premier Division of the Western League.

He has also been number two at Bridport to Trevor Senior for two-and-a-half years, manager of Westland Sports and assistant to Manley at Sherborne, where they finished the highest ever league position in their history.

Manley played under Leigh at Chard and Sherborne, and he described him as “superb, with a top-drawer football knowledge”.

“We work well together, and I can’t wait to get started,” he added.

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