Midland League Division One club Hinckley AFC have announced the appointment of Dale Belford as their new manager.
Following a huge amount of interest in the post, the Board of Directors have confirmed that former Hinckley United goalkeeper Belford is the man they have chosen to take the club forward.
The 50-year-old former Tamworth and Rugby Town boss joins having spent last season scouting for Forest Green Rovers during their promotion season from the National League.
Belford will be joined by Richard Lavery, who remains at the club as assistant-manager having recently re-joined as a player. He will continue to play alongside his duties as Belford’s assistant.
A stalwart of local football, Belford is no stranger to Hinckley having been between the sticks for United during two spells, and is also a well-known name at the likes of Atherstone and Tamworth having played for the Lambs across four decades.
Speaking to the club`s official website on his appointment, Belford said: “The Hinckley name is still a big one in local football and after speaking to the Board and the other people concerned it was an easy decision.
“It’s a big challenge. Everybody is of the mindset that they’d like to progress and there’s an opportunity there to build.
“Carl Abbott has done a really good job over the last few years, I’ll try and pick up where he left off and hopefully move the club forward.
“It feels a bit like I’m coming home having seen a few familiar faces, and first and foremost that was the biggest attraction to the job. It’s good to be back.”
Hinckley AFC chairman Steve Jelfs was delighted to appoint the new boss. He said: “I’m delighted and excited that Dale has accepted the position with Lavs as his assistant, and we’re certain that our supporters will be too.
“We had a number of applications from some very strong candidates, but as soon as we knew that Dale was interested we knew that he was the man we wanted.
“He comes with a vast wealth of experience and, just as importantly, knows what Hinckley AFC means to the town and its supporters.
“I’d also like to say that we’re very grateful to Dean Thomas for taking charge of first-team affairs during these three games. He’s made this process much easier. He’s a top man and a top manager and we’re proud to be associated with him.”
As part of the new era, Belford will be also keeping one eye on the future as the club’s expenditure becomes an increasing focal point ahead of the much hoped for move back to the Borough in the seasons to come.
To enable this, a greater focus will be placed on the resources necessary for any future return ‘home’ while balancing the need for a continued competitive team on the pitch to maintain the work that has been undertaken to date.
Jelfs said: “We took the opportunity to review the playing budget and it’s true to say that we have reduced it from the beginning of the season, but Dale is comfortable with that and we’re grateful to him for it.”
Belford’s first official game in charge will be against Aylestone Park at St John’s Park in the Leicestershire Challenge Cup tomorrow evening.
— Hinckley AFC (@hinckley_afc) October 16, 2017