Pic: Grays Athletic FC
MARK BENTLEY says the decision to step down as manager of Ryman Premier club Grays Athletic “has not been easy”.
Bentley, 38, had been in charge since January 2015, initially as caretaker following the departure of Jody Brown and later being named permanent boss.
He led the club to the Ryman League Cup final last season and a run of just one defeat in 23 games through the start of the current campaign.
Grays were in the Ryman Premier play-off race until a number of players left the club with owner Andy Swallow stepping back from the day-to-day running of the club in March.
That coincided with a run of ten defeats in a row and meant Athletic finished 15th and just seven points above the relegation places, leading to the Bentley stepping down.
The former Aldershot, Southend and Gillingham midfielder told the club’s website: “This has not been an easy decision to make but I believe the commitment and work required over the summer is quite substantial. I am just about to start my A Licence badge training next month at St George’s Park so for me that is a big priority.
“It has been extremely tough for me these past few months and I believe for someone who wants to progress in management and coaching this is the best choice for me at this time.
“It has been a privilege and honour to manage Grays Athletic FC and I would like to thank everyone involved with the club and especially the supporters who have supported me and stuck by me. I wish you all the best of luck for the future as the club moves in a new direction.”
A Grays statement added: “The club would like to place on record its sincere thanks and gratitude to Mark for everything he has done for the club over the past two seasons.
“Who will forget the fantastic unbeaten run and cup final in the 2014-15 season? It has been a privilege to work with Mark and everyone at the club wishes him all the very best of luck in what is surely to be a long and successful career in football management.
“The search now begins for a new manager to replace Mark. The club will now start the interviewing process to find the right man for the job and it is hoped that an announcement will be made as soon as possible.”