Jethro Warren said he wouldn’t want to manage any other football club after taking over the reins at Westfield.
The 35-year-old will make his first foray into adult football management with the Sussex County League Division Two outfit next season.
Warren succeeds the trio of Tony Harris, Duncan Jones and Mat Ball, who stepped down after six years at the end of the 2013/14 campaign.
“It’s a bit daunting because I’ve never done it before, but I’m looking forward to it and can’t wait to get started really,” said Warren, who admitted he had planned to take a year out from football.
“I was a bit unsure whether it was too soon (to go into management), but the more I thought about it, the more I thought ‘I’ll go for that’.
“I wouldn’t really want to manage anywhere else other than Westfield. They don’t pay players and you get a bit more of a tight knit community; everyone playing is there because they want to be there.”
Warren added that his appointment as manager will mark the end of a playing career which featured spells at Hastings United, Bexhill United, Wadhurst United, Hastings Rangers and Hawkhurst United before joining Westfield in the 2011/12 campaign.
“What Tony, Duncan and Bally did was a massive achievement, and the expectation now is to finish as high as we possibly can,” he continued. “I’ve spoken to pretty much all of them involved in the first team. I thought quite a few would leave, but 99 per cent of them are staying.”
Warren, who also runs Sedlescombe Rangers under-11s, has appointed brother Mark Smith as his assistant.
“He’s never been involved in senior football, but he does a lot of coaching at Sedlescombe with the under-16s,” added Warren. “He’s a hard taskmaster and knows how to get people fit, but he’s a good coach and knows his football.”
Westfield chairman Graham Drinkwater said: “It was a very difficult decision because there were other parties involved. It’s something we thought long and hard about. We wanted to try and keep it in-house if we could. We had a chat with Jethro, he was very interested and he came across very well.”
Westfield FC award winners 2013/14: Emma Weightman Cup (most improved player) Ross Williams; Ron Cruttenden Cup (supporters’ player) Mike Booth; Monty Eldridge Shield (leading scorer) Peter Baker; clubman trophy Melvyn Young; 1st team managers’ player Mike Booth; 1st team players’ player Gordon Cuddington; 2nd team managers’ player Mark Drinkwater; 2nd team players’ player Richard Saunders; 3rd team managers’ player Jason Miller; 3rd team players’ player Ricky Skinner. A special presentation was made to Harris, Jones and Ball.