Hastings assistant boss returns to old club

Hastings United Football Club assistant manager Matt Longhurst has made a dramatic u-turn to go back to his previous role as manager of East Grinstead Town.

Matt Longhurst has left Hastings United to return to East Grinstead Town.
Matt Longhurst has left Hastings United to return to East Grinstead Town.

Longhurst became Darren Hare’s number two at The Pilot Field less than two weeks ago, but has returned to fellow Ryman Football League Division One South club Grinstead after just two games.

A statement from Hare on United’s website read: “Following some soul searching and a lengthy conversation with myself, Matt Longhurst has decided to leave Hastings United with immediate effect.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

“Matt is an honest and loyal guy and the transition from being a manager to then becoming an assistant has proved more difficult than we both had imagined.

“At this moment, and at this stage of the season, he felt it was difficult to make the impact he would have liked, and so reluctantly offered his resignation on Sunday, which I accepted.

“He has a great knowledge and philosophy on the game and his experience in management is excellent with limited resources.

“I thank him immensely for his professional attitude and contribution, albeit short in duration, and I wish him every success in the future.

“I am certain he will climb the managerial ladder quickly and be very successful in the coming months. We will remain close friends and colleagues moving forwards.”

Longhurst rejoins an East Grinstead side lying 18th in the table - well clear of relegation danger.

He told East Grinstead’s website: “I have returned to East Grinstead thankful for the opportunity the club have given me.

“I made a quick decision that being a No.2 wasn’t for me and that’s no disrespect to first team manager Darren Hare.

“Hastings is a fantastic club with great supporters, board, players and management team and I thank them for the opportunity.

“However, at this stage in my career, after lots of thought, I decided I need to be a manager and cannot wait to get back to work.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the committee at East Grinstead for the chance to come back so we can build on the foundations already in place for next season.

“I would also like to say to the supporters I made a big mistake leaving and will work harder than ever to produce the team and club you deserve.”

United are one place and one point outside the play-off spots having failed to win any of their last four matches, the most recent of which was a 1-0 loss at home to 10-man leaders Tooting & Mitcham United on Saturday.

“My job is to now drive things forwards and maintain a challenge on the play-off spots and I will do that with the help of existing staff for the remaining fixtures,” added Hare.

“It may well be I look to recruit an assistant for next season, but at the moment I want to try to galvanise the group and avoid too many changes. The focus has to be the players and the results now.”

United’s website is also reporting that two midfielders have left the club.

Jack Evans has returned to parent club Maidstone United after two fairly successful months on loan at United.

Charlie Harris has decided to leave the club with immediate effect due to the travelling distance from his home town of East Grinstead. Harris joined United from East Grinstead shortly after Longhurst’s arrival and has featured in the last two matches.

See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make this website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex

3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!