After 6 years and 315 games in charge Ben Murray stands down as First Team Manager, handing over to Russell Canderton.

Please see the following statements from both Ben and the Club:

STATEMENT FROM BEN MURRAY

“After careful consideration and following discussions with my staff, my players and the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down as 1st Team manager of the club, with immediate effect.

I am extremely grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for 16 years, working up from coaching an Under 9s age group all the way through to Under 18s midweek, Reserves and then being given the opportunity to manage the club’s 1st team for 6 years.

I have had the opportunity of working with some fantastic players in my time here, all of them really buying into both the close-knit ethos that I like to create and the playing philosophy that I have developed.

I have managed the club with full commitment and integrity, always being honest with players and the club in my approach, but ultimately doing what is right for the best of the club at all times and in all areas.

I would like to thank my coaching team who have supported me over the years. Greeny has always been by my side and by doing so has certainly earned a rightful rest on the golf course on a Saturday from now on! But also to Russell, Steve, Pat and Martin who have been great in being a trusted staff team to me and true club men.

I will be indebted to Bob Parker for giving me the opportunity of being part of the club and I would also like to thank Nick and the board of directors for all they do at the club and for supporting me in my time as manager. Thank you to the small but mighty band of volunteers who work tirelessly for the club and keep it alive and to our group of supporters who push the lads on during games.

Finally, but most importantly, I would like to thank my players, who have done this club proud by the way in which they have conducted themselves both on and off the pitch. They have given me everything and I will never forget that, we have certainly had more positive times than not.

I will not forget the away 3-0 victory against a near on full strength Woking, our promotion to Step 4 and our 2-1 cup final win against a strong Wealdstone team amongst others.

Mark, Samad, Tom, Scott, Tyler, Max, Jack and Alex are all players who have played over 200 games for me at the club, a tremendous achievement. We have pushed on many players on to the next level and all those players have deserved their chance:  so to any player that has put the tangerine & white on for me over my 315 games in charge, I thank you.

It’s time for me now to focus on my own professional progression within the game and look for a new challenge and look forward to seeing what that brings. It is over now to a new management team, who are very much trusted and I wish them all the success that they deserve in the role and the very best of luck.”

 

STATEMENT FROM THE BOARD

We knew of Ben’s intention to step down at the end of the season and we thank him sincerely for the hard work and dedication he has put into the Club over many years and certainly in recent seasons when he has kept us at Step 4, usually in the top half, often competing against clubs arguably much bigger than ourselves.  We wish him well in whatever path his ongoing football career takes him but we would not bet against a return to Short Lane at some point as his heart has always been with Ashford and that does not disappear overnight.

We hope that most if not all our players from last season will stay with us.  Ben was absolutely right that every one of them threw themselves into the cause and gave their all for the club.  It should not be forgotten that in February we were on the edge of the play-offs until a poor sequence of results, mostly games lost by the odd goal and being very unlucky in some of them, resulted in a final mid-table placing.

The Club has moved swiftly to appoint a new manager and has nearly always been our way we have appointed from within.  The word “legend” is used far too frequently but in appointing Russell Canderton as our new manager with Scott Weight as his assistant, that word is entirely apt.  Russell is second only to Paul Burgess in terms of Ashford matches under his belt and with Scott not too far behind, between them they have played over 1000 matches.

It is, therefore, a new challenge that awaits us.  Russell and Scott are already speaking to various players who may augment the squad, but whether you are a seasoned player at this level or have been playing at Step 5 or even lower, and think you can make the step up, you will be welcome to attend for pre-season training.  This starts at the club on Tuesday 2 July, at 7.00 p.m. and will be will be an open session with all potential players very welcome.  The training will be on grass at our ground (Robert Parker Stadium, Short Lane, Stanwell, TW19 7BH).  Showers will be available but please bring your own training kit in the first instance.  The first pre-season friendly is at CB Hounslow on Saturday 6 July.