Pagham part company with Hellen - Simmonds to take sole charge

Richie Hellen / Picture by Roger Smith
Richie Hellen / Picture by Roger Smith

Joint manager Richie Hellen has left SCFL premier division side Pagham.

He has put the decision down to increased work commitments. His fellow joint manager Tom Simmonds remains in place.

A statement put out by the Nyetimber Lane club said: "It is with great regret that Pagham FC announce that Richie Hellen has resigned from his position as joint first team manager with immediate effect.

"Due to increased work pressures Richie feels he is unable to commit the time he wants to the team and therefore has decided to step away.

"The chairman would like to thank Richie on behalf of the club and the committee for all his hard work, efforts and success over the past four years and wish him well for the future.

"Tom Simmonds will remain in his current position."

Chairman Tony Shea told the Observer he was extremely thankful to Hellen for all his efforts at the club in his time there.

Hellen had been at Pagham since the 2015-16 season, when he arrived as assistant boss to Mark Bennett. They guided the club to their Peter Bentley Cup triumph in 2017, before Bennett left and Hellen and Simmonds became joint managers. And for much of Hellen's time with the Lions, they have been challenging among the top teams in the SCFL premier.

This has been a tough season for Pagham, though - they were challenging near the top in the early stages but have fallen away and are now 11th after a porr run this side of Christmas. A 6-1 defeat at Sholing in the FA Vase hit morale and they have lost some key players as the months have passed.

Shea said: "Richie's work is taking him from Bognor to Worthing and he could see difficulties in combining that with managing the club. I'm gutted he has gone and thankful for all he has done.

"We have had three good seasons with him here, even if this current season has gone off the boil since the mid-point.

"Tom is staying and will be sole manager of the first team and there will be news quite soon about his backroom staff. It will give us a chance to take stock and see where we are as a club and what we need to do in preparation for next season.

"Although the first team have struggled for form and results in the past two or three months, we have some very good players in the under-23s and under-18s who are a big part of the future, and Tom obviously knows all about them."

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