MARK BENNETT admitted that he stepped down as Littlehampton Football Club manager with a heavy heart.
Bennett resigned last night after guiding Golds to the Sussex County League title on Saturday and he said: “I’ve left the club with a very heavy heart.
“I didn’t get on with the chairman and it reached a breaking point and then there’s only going to be one winner.
“The club knew how I felt about things and I’m not going to say more than that as what happens at a club should stay in the club.
“I was hoping it wouldn’t get to this but I spoke to Richie (Hellen; assistant manager) and we both agreed that the situation wasn’t going to progress, so have left with a heavy heart as we both love the club.”
Bennett was manager at Littlehampton for four years and the club progressed from playing in Division 2 to winning the title in that time.
He said: “I probably didn’t expect to win the league in four years.
“Division 2 was tough to get out of but we then finished third in our first season in Division 1. We thought that maybe next season could be the one for us but with the way things panned out this season and with East Preston breaking up, it turned out to be our season.
“I’m obviously very sad to go as the club is very close to my heart but Richie and I have left now to give the club plenty of time to find someone else and we wish them well.”
Golds chairman Rob McAlees said: “Mark is a great manager and has been top-notch for the club.
“We didn’t want him to leave but Mark is Mark. I always see things as glass half full and he sees them as glass half empty.
“We’re sad to see him go as he’s brought non-stop success to the club. We’re also sad to see Richie leave as he’s been absolutely tremendous and did a great job as well.
“Mark did indicate a few months ago that this would be his last season but he has gone with a heavy heart and we wish him all the best for the future.
McAlees will now begin the hunt for a new manager and said: “We’re looking for a Littlehampton person to carry on our recent success.
“We’ll have a couple of weeks as a club to think about things and I’m sure there will be lots of interest as it’s a good job. We’re the County League champions and we want to carry on our success and keep moving in the right direction.”