IAN LONG and his coaching staff have pledged their future to Alvechurch after agreeing new deals with chairman Richard Thorndike.
The move, announced yesterday, follows intense speculation that Long and his staff had been top of the wanted list for the vacant manager’s post at Evo-Stik South Premier Central rivals Tamworth.
The Standard understands Long was appoached after the Lambs had contacted the Church to speak to him but he is committed to Alvechurch and has been rewarded with a new deal to take him to 2020.
No 2 Richard Colwell and goalkeeper coach Billy Walwyn have also been handed extended deals.
It’s no surprise other clubs have coveted the services of Long and Colwell – they have been linked to previous vacancies at Rushall Olympic and Redditch United – after they have steered Alvechurch to back-to-back promotions and they are now well-placed to challenge for Premier Central play-offs.
They entertain Bedworth United tomorrow (Saturday), looking to extend an unbeaten five-match run which had left them one place outside the play-offs but with games on hand on fourth-placed King’s Lynn Town and fifth-placed Biggleswade Town.
Long said: “We’ve worked hard over the last few seasons to get Alvechurch where we are and it’s very rewarding to feel so wanted.
“We’ve built a good side, with good people and good characters and there’s still more want to do.
“The club’s ambitious, especially with the new ground in the pipeline. It’s very enjoyable to be part of the plans they have for the future.”
Alvechurch were not so happy after events at the weekend when they made a fruitless eight-hour round-trip to King’s Lynn, only for the game to be called off by the match referee.
The Linnets have since apologised but that has cut little ice with the Church. Secretary Steve Denny has reported their dissatisfaction to the Southern League.
“It was the right decision to call the game off but there was never a chance of it being on,” said Long. “It was a totally wasted journey. The players spent the day on a coach for nothing.
“Their chairman spoke to our chairman on the coach to say there was no need for an inspection but when we got there the pitch was covered in ice. We tried to warm on it but it was no good.
“An apology makes no difference they didn’t show any respect to the club or the players. Non-League players work hard all week and then our plays spent their Saturday on a coach.
I dread to think how much it has cost us for the coach so I just hope King’s Lynn will pay for it.”
Influential playmaker Lee Chilton faces a fitness test ahead of the clash with basement side Bedworth.
He picked up a groin injury in training last week and is rated a doubt.