CHAIRMAN Richard Thorndike is setting a two-week target to find and appoint a new Alvechurch manager to replace Ian Long.
Long ended a four-year spell at Lye Meadow – leading the club to two promotions and the play-off final this season – after accepting an offer to become Stourbridge’s new boss and replace long-serving Gary Hackett.
Hackett’s final game in a 16-year reign ended with defeat to Church in the Southern Premier Central play-offs semi-final.
Long will take No 2 Rich Colwell and goalkeeping coach Chris ‘Billy’ Walwyn with him to the Glassboys, while inevitably several players will also follow him.
Thorndike said the club will advertise for a successor, with a deadline for applicants for next Thursday and the target to name the new boss by June 5.
The chairman will be sitting down with Steve Denny and Simon Redhead to finalise the process in the next few days.
“The closing date for applicants will be next Thursday,” Thorndike told the Standard.
“Then we will be interviewing over the following weekend and the Monday and Tuesday with the idea to make a decision by Wednesday, June 5.”
Thorndike says there have no particular names in mind, but whoever replaces Long will need to match his winning mentality, passion, professionalism and footballing philosophies.
The chairman admitted the offer from Stourbridge was one of the few jobs which could have tempted Long from Alvechurch, having turned the village club into one of the Midlands’ non-League success stories of the past few years.
“We are a victim of our own success,” said Thorndike. “Clubs covet our manager, clubs covet our players.
“It’s no surprise other clubs have wanted Ian. We held off Tamworth when they wanted him and before that we’ve held off Redditch and Rushall Olympic.
“But it’s the right time for Ian to go to a bigger club, with bigger resources. Stourbridge is probably a Leviathan in non-League terms.
“It’s been an unbelievable four years. Ian and Rich have done things for this football club which will be remembered for a long, long time. They’ve put the club on the map.
“The truth is we haven’t got the finances of other clubs, especially with the new ground we’ve got planned at The Hayes, but we’ve stepped up from step five to step three and improved every season.
“Whoever comes in will need to play a part in the project we’re planning over the next four or five years. They will need to buy into that.
“Apart from the success and silverware, Ian has instilled our own Alvechurch DNA with the way we play football. First and foremost, I’m a fan and we play entertaining football. I don’t want to see that change.”