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By Brian Flynn

RAY Turner has stepped down as first team manager with immediate effect.

“Everybody connected to this club has an immense amount to thank Ray for.” Paul Bennett, Chairman

First team coach Clive Walker has agreed to stay on to take this weekend’s home match against Haywards Heath Town.

Ray informed the Board and the players of his decision immediately following the 2-0 defeat against Sittingbourne on Saturday.

He was appointed manager towards the end of the 2010/11 season after successful stints as Under 18s manager and assistant manager to Justin Luchford.

It was the club’s first in the Ryman League (now the Bostik League) after winning the Kent League Premier Division, and Town finished eighth.

In the following seasons Ray established the club at Ryman League level before leading them to the play-offs three times in 2012/13, 2014/15 and 2015/6 – twice missing out on promotion in the final.

Ray Turner said: “The time was right to step aside as first team manager of this wonderful football club.

“I take with me some fantastic memories but my time had to come to an end, and it's now time for someone else to take this club forward.

“It's very difficult to thank everyone who has helped and supported me but I would first like to thank all the players I have had the privilege to work with.

“I still believe the current squad can compete again for the play-offs this season and I wish them all the best.

“I would like to thank all the supporters that have been with me through good and bad and all the board members who have supported me, especially Ray Leader who I loved working for and Paul Bennett the current chairman who understood my reasons for leaving and without doubt will take this club forward.

“I would like to leave my final thank you to my brilliant management team, and in particular Clive Walker.

“He has stayed unequivocally loyal at all stages and I can't thank him enough.”

Chairman Paul Bennett said: “Everyone connected to this club, whether as a player, official or supporter, has an immense amount to thank Ray for and will join me in wishing him the very best for his future.

“Ray has been a huge part of this club’s success and progression for many years. He has worked tirelessly to help shape this club into what it is, and he will always be a huge part of it.

“He will also be a tough act to follow, and our job now is to find the right person to build on what He has achieved and take this club to the next level.”

Ray’s full final message to club members, officials and supporters can be found here.

The Board met this evening to agree the process for appointing Ray’s successor, which will begin this week.

Updated 10:55 - 16 Oct 2018 by Brian Flynn

Where next?

RAY'S LETTER TO FANS: "THE TIME IS RIGHT TO STEP ASIDE." RAY Turner has penned an open message to supporters after stepping down as manager. It is reproduced here in full:
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