CRAIG McAllister has been appointed right-hand man to Richard Hill as Eastleigh prepare for their first season in non-League’s top flight.
Guy Butters, Hill’s assistant since October 2012, has left the Skrill Conference South champions after finding it increasingly difficult to marry work commitments with daytime training.
It has left the door open for two of the most experienced members of the Spitfires’ promotion-winning squad to take their first steps into management/coaching.
Former Exeter, Crawley and Newport County targetman McAllister, 33, who grew up in Southampton, has been given the dual role of player/assistant manager while 32-year-old centre-back Chris Todd becomes player/coach.
Butters, a community coach for Brighton & Hove Albion, knew Hill from his Gillingham days and moved to Eastleigh having guided Winchester City to the Sydenhams Wessex title and promotion to the Southern League.
Thanking the 44-year-old former Spurs and Portsmouth defender for his contribution to the Spitfires’ success story, Hill said: “He’s been on the staff of a team that’s won promotion. You don’t achieve that by carrying passengers.
“But Guy’s been honest and said he can’t commit to training because of his job at Brighton.
“It was okay when we trained at night, but when we changed to daytimes he was having to juggle things. “He feels, and I do too, that we need someone all the time, which is a measure of Guy’s honesty.
“He’s a great bloke and I’m surprised no one locally has approached him because he’s got a lot to offer.”
While stressing that McAllister and Todd will remain key players next season, Hill believes that helping them branch out into management/coaching is a “win-win for all of us”.
He said: “Macca’s at an age now where I sat down with him and said ‘what do you want to do with the rest of your life?’. I asked him if he wanted to move over to ‘the dark side’ which is what our lads call the coaching side of football!
“It’s no secret that I’ve got a lot of admiration for Macca. I’ve tapped into his knowledge and contacts on more than one occasion.
“I’m not doing him a favour asking him to come and work with me, I’m doing it because I think he’s got something to offer the club going forward.”
The same goes for Welshman Todd who carved out a successful Football League career with Swansea, Exeter and Torquay.
Todd’s greatest victory, however, has been overcoming leukaemia and raising money for research into the illness through his book ‘More than Football in the Blood’.
“The whole Chris Todd story has been inspirational,” said Hill. “You don’t get through adversity without battling, whether it’s in your work or personal life, and I like those qualities in my team.
“I want Macca and Toddy to want to be better (at coaching and managing) than I am.
“They might be already, but we don’t know that yet because they haven’t had the chance.
“I shall still be on the training ground overseeing things because I have to be mindful that these two young men have a lot to contribute as players.”