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Dean Holtham hailed for standing aside for legend Ian Long

Ian Long Alvechurch

Alvechurch have paid tribute to Dean Holtham after he stood aside to make way for the return of Ian Long, the most successful manager in the BetVictor Southern League club’s history.

Long – who left Stourbridge on Monday by ‘mutual consent’ – took charge of the relegation-battlers again on Thursday after quitting Lye Meadow at the end of last season to take over at the Glassboys.

Holtham rescued the club from certain relegation in season 2011/12 and took charge for a second time in December as the successor to Darren Byfield. He is expected to continue in his original role as the club’s education programme director before stepping up.

Holtham’s number two Matt Kirby has agreed stay on and join Rich Colwell and Chris Walwyn on Long’s touchline team after they returned with him from the Glassboys.

Long, pictured, must lift a side sitting second from bottom in the Southern League’s Premier Central Division with just four wins and 20 defeats from 29 league games so far this season.

Storm Jorge permitting, they head to third-from-bottom St Ives Town on Saturday in a relegation battle six-pointer.

The Alvechurch statement read: “Ian Long, Rich Colwell and Chris Walwyn have today rejoined the Church and will take over first team duties straightaway.

“Longy has requested to retain the services of current number two Matt Kirby and we’re pleased to say that Matt has agreed to stay on.

“Coach Danny Scheppel is meeting with the management team on Thursday to discuss his future with the club.

“We met with Dean Holtham last night [Wednesday] and he immediately agreed to step aside once it was known that the old management team were available.

“The club would like to thank Dean for his efforts over the past few months, even though the results haven’t gone our way, it’s clear that the team has been playing better, with more structure.

“One casualty is goal keeping coach, Neil Reeves. Reevesy has been a class act since he got here, the club and all the lads think the world of him and he will be a real asset to any other club looking for a keeping coach.

“He leaves with our very best wishes. Between now and the end of the season we have 13 cup finals to go, starting with an away ‘six pointer’ at St Ives.

“We hope that our fans will give the management all of their support both home and away. Let’s see if we can perform a miracle! Up the Church.”

Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper on Sunday for the latest news and action from across Non-League over the last seven days.

As well as exclusive match reports and pictures from all of Saturday’s fixtures in the Vanarama National League, the BetVictor-Sponsored Isthmian League, Southern League and Northern Premier League, The Non-League Paper’s live coverage extends all the way to Steps 5 and 6.

Images courtesy of @Alvechurch1st/Twitter

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