Billingshurst enter ‘new chapter’ as Simmons take managerial role from Konieczny

Football, Southern Combination League Division 2: Billingshurst manager Adie Konieczny. Pic Steve Robards SR1609248 SUS-160326-195124001
Football, Southern Combination League Division 2: Billingshurst manager Adie Konieczny. Pic Steve Robards SR1609248 SUS-160326-195124001

Billingshurst enter their second season in senior football for a ‘new chapter’ as they have appointed Chris Simmons as their new manager.

The former Loxwood and Broadbridge Heath player has taken over the role - his first management job - from Adie Konieczny after Hurst were forced to make the ‘difficult decision’ to install a new boss.

DM15111221a.jpg Football - Hurstpierpoint v Billingshurst. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150509-222018008

DM15111221a.jpg Football - Hurstpierpoint v Billingshurst. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150509-222018008

Nathan Sleat and Rich Carter will make up the management team for the Division 1 side, who are now ratified at this level having passed their ground grading at the end of last season after installing a 100-seater stand, perimeter path and six new floodlights.

Hurst have secured the signatures of most of last year’s squad as well as adding a few new faces with the promise of more to come.

Chairman Kev Tilley said: “It was felt that the club needed a change, especially as Adie was unable to commit to pre-season. We had the same situation last year and didn’t get off to the greatest of starts and although in the end we managed to retain our Division 1 status, it became a bit precarious towards the end of the season and we wanted to try and avoid it happening again.

“Simmo, Sleaty and Rich have been organising the training as well as our pre-season matches, but we were finding it difficult to retain players or recruit new ones as they wouldn’t commit without knowing what was happening and who was in charge.

“We made the difficult decision to make the change and although it might seem harsh on Adie, we felt it was best for the club. I’d like to thank Adie on behalf of the football club for all the work he’s done for us, getting us promoted in 2016 and retaining our senior status last season.

“It’s a new chapter now and Chris takes on his first managerial role for the club where lives and has played for at various times during his long and illustrious career.

“It’s a natural progression for Chris to go into management and it soon became clear that he had what it takes to step up, the hardest bit was persuading him to stop playing.”

Hurst have added signings Dave Watts, from South Park, Sam Gravestock, from Alfold, Nathan Stepney, from Pulborough, Ben Simester, from Roffey, along with Jamie Groves and Chris Coles. Leaving is Eno Idiong, Kai Bichard and Bright Temba.

The club host their first match under the new floodlights in the Peter Bentley Cup against Storrington on Wednesday.