Romsey Town Football Club first team co-managers Carl Bennett and John McFarlane have left the club.
Bennett, pictured, spent over a season as Romsey’s assistant manager before stepping in as manager, when Danny Barker resigned in October 2013.
John McFarlane joined Town in February, following a previous successful spell with fellow Sydenhams Premier Division side Blackfield & Langley.
The pair sparked a brave but ultimately unsuccessful survival battle in the Premier Division, picking up three wins and two draws from February onwards compared to three wins in their previous 30 matches.
A club statement, issued on Tuesday, read: “The Club wished to place on record their thanks for the hard work shown by both managers in attempting to keep the first team in the Sydenhams Premier Division this season and wished them both every success in their respective futures. In particular the club acknowledged the role Bennett had played throughout the club following the resignation of previous Town manager, Danny Barker, in October.”
The club added that they are delighted to announce that James Phillips will now take over as head coach of the first team at the Bypass Ground on a three-year contract, tasked to focus on stability, continuity and the long term development of the team.
Phillips, just 21, who was due to name his backroom staff this week, is one of the youngest managers in both the club’s and league’s histories.
The ‘talented and well qualified coach’ joined the club at the start of the season as reserve team assistant manager before taking over as the reserves’ manager later on in the year. He guided the reserves to impressive cup runs in both the Southampton Senior Cup and Hampshire Intermediate Cup.
Phillips, who is undertaking his UEFA B licence, said: “I’m obviously delighted to be given the opportunity by the club of head coach and am very excited about imposing my style and footballing beliefs into the team.
“We will be working closely with the lads to develop and improve them as individuals as well as hopefully into a successful team.
“Everyone at the club is very disappointed to have been relegated this season but we now have a new season to prepare for and look forward to and this gives us the opportunity to re-build and create something special over the next few years”
The Town aim to build the club from a basis of talented young players, working closely with Romsey Town Youth FC and other local football clubs to help bring young, local and promising players through the ranks whilst continuing to improve standards.
The new youthful attitude will be part of a fresh long-term approach to help Romsey return to the Sydenhams Premier Division and beyond.
To provide further backing to future ambitions, the Bypass Ground club are excited by the appointment of Chris McGinn as senior football consultant.
McGinn has coached many illustrious clubs in England, most recently Fulham, as well as Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan. He spent nine years as a coach at Arsenal under Arsène Wenger as part of the coaching staff working with Jack Wilshire, Cesc Fabrigas, Fabrice Muamba and many more.
He currently coaches the GB Deaf football team and is a well-respected FA tutor.
He said: “I’m delighted to be able to add my support to the Club and obviously help them and James in any capacity I can.
“When Phil (Phil Rowland vice-chairman) approached me, outlined the vision the club has going forward and its philosophy towards the development of players, I was delighted to be a part of it. I think the next few years could be very exciting for Romsey Town on and off the pitch.”
Full details of the rest of the management team will be announced in the coming weeks.