Banbridge Town have appointed Ronnie Haughey as the club’s new manager as Stuart King moves to a different role at the club.
King had taken over the reigns at Crystal Park after Ryan Watson stood down at the end of last season and shepherded the club to the top of the Premier Intermediate League table until defeat at Queen’s on Saturday allowed Donegal Celtic into first spot.
King will now step down to concentrate on spearheading the drive for promotion on the park while he continues to work towards gaining his B Licence coaching qualification.
Haughey, an UEFA A Licence coach, who had a long playing association with the club before taking up the managerial reigns for a spell following the departure of Colin Malone in 2011, will takes charge of team affairs with immediate effect.
Haughey said: “I was approached by both Stuart and the chairman and I’m delighted to be back at Banbridge Town at a time when the club have got themselves into a great position to stay in the mix for possible promotion to the Championship.
“Stuart has done a fantastic job to date since taking over at the start of season and my aim is simply to help him and the rest of the team at the club continue that good work.
“I’ve been to a number of games this season and I have detected a real buzz around Crystal Park and I can see that there is a lot of effort being put in on and off the pitch to take the club forward.”
King, meanwhile, was delighted to welcome Haughey back to the club.
“I think this appointment will be a positive one for Banbridge,” he said.
“I still see my long-term future in the game in management and to that end I’m completing my B Licence course in the summer, but at the moment the club require a qualified UEFA coach in the position and I see Ronnie as the perfect fit for that.
“Ronnie already knows the majority of the players and coaches and his experience in the dugout will allow me to focus on my own contribution to the team when playing.
“He’ll be supported by Neil Watson and Stephen McCreanor, who have been absolutely fantastic for me, and I know will be the same for Ronnie.”
While recognising there was still a long way to go, Banbridge Town chairman Dominic Downey said: “Stuart has been brilliant since he took over after Ryan Watson had to step down, but if the club is to progress we need to tick all the boxes.
“Due to the new Licensing Criteria recently introduced by the IFA for Championship football only those managers who hold either an A or B Licence are permitted to manage a team at this level of local football.
“And, while I’ve no doubt that Stuart will have those necessary qualifications in time, at the moment we need a ready-made manager and so I’m very glad Ronnie as agreed to come on board.”