Beard leaves Loxwood on verge of being a top-three side

Loxwood manager Mark Beard
Loxwood manager Mark Beard

Mark Beard has hailed his time at Loxwood as ‘fantastic’ and said they are on the verge of becoming a top-three side in the Premier Division.

The manager was forced to step down last week after two years at the helm with his coaching commitments at Brighton & Hove Albion increasing.

The full-time coach runs one of the youth teams at the Seagulls and has been offered a bigger role with the academy section.

The 42-year-old originally took over as the Magpies’ youth team coach before taking on the first team role and he says he can look back on what they have achieved with pride.

Beard said: “It’s been hard this season trying to mix two or three jobs at the same time and I just felt like working at a club like Brighton is a fantastic opportunity for me.

“They have given me the chance of extra work, watching loan players, but obviously they are playing Saturday and Tuesdays as well.

“It has been fantastic at Loxwood. I started off working with the youth team players and we knew from early on, they were a special group.

“And what they have gone on to achieve, winning the Sussex Cup two years in a row and the league twice, then gone on to play first team football at the club and some even higher, it’s been brilliant.

“A lot more people know about Loxwood now and it is a special little club, me being there has never been a financial thing. It’s a nice club with lovely people and a friendly atmosphere.”

Director of football and former manager Dave Cocoracchio will retake the reins at the club until the end of season and Beard has backed him to continue to take the Plaistow Road club forwards.

He added: “For me to be a part of it there for two and a half years has been great. We built a great side and have easily been the best footballing side in the league.

“When I started, people said to me you can’t play football in this league. I disagreed with them and it shows if you keep working at things you can achieve them.

“They have been outstanding and hopefully Dave can that. They are a couple of players; one a prolific scorer away from being a top-three side.”