Published: 13:11, 26 July 2020
| Updated: 13:32, 26 July 2020
Sheppey United have announced their popular assistant manager has left the club.
Jono Richardson, 31, has explained he wants to concentrate on playing during the 2020/21 season and that is why he has decided to leave the Southern Counties East League side.
In a club statement which was published on Sunday, Richardson thanked the Ites' fans and Sheppey manager Ernie Batten for his support, adding he felt confident the club are set to have a successful campaign. The league have pencilled in a date of Saturday, September 5 as the start date for a new season.
"To all at SUFC, this is a message of thanks for all of your support during my time at the club," said Richardson.
"Every one of you have had a huge part to play in the success of this incredible club.
"Today, I have made a very tough decision to step down from my position and leave the club.
"Over the past few months, I have invested time in my own fitness which has given me a desire to go back and play.
"I’m 31 and wouldn’t want to regret stopping playing too early, later on in life."
Richardson says he discussed many possibilities with chairman Matt Smith and manager Batten but he felt he would struggle to be able to perform both the role of assistant manager and as a player to a satisfactory standard going forwards.
He continued: "The club are in a superb position to now progress to the next level.
"Recruitment has been especially strong this summer which puts the team in a great position, ready for the new season. All of this, making my decision to leave a very hard one.
"I'm very confident knowing that, by leaving at this stage with the squad assembled for the new season, this team is only destined for a successful season.
"I’m extremely proud of the progress that we’ve made during my time at the club.
"The professionalism is of a club much higher up the football pyramid, and the hard work and investment behind the scenes allows this to happen.
"Before I sign-off, I want to express my thanks to Ernie for his loyalty and ambition.
"He has provided me (with) an opportunity to progress into management and this has been an experience where I have learnt a vast amount, working so closely with him.
"A management position is non-stop and Ernie’s experience, knowledge, but also his want and desire to continue to achieve success is incredible.
"I would like to place on record my thanks to the ongoing commitment of the coaching team.
"Their efforts to improve professional standards have been excellent and they are all extremely talented in their areas.
"The coaching team we have developed ensures that no stone is left unturned in preparing the team."
Richardson also expressed his gratitude towards the players, officials and volunteers he has worked with during his time at the club who were fourth in SCEFL when their 2019/20 season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sheppey say they will be welcoming applications for the assistant manager role in due course.