Hastings United boss: The hardest chat I've had as a manager

Gary Elphick says telling Marcus Goldsmith he could leave Hastings United was the hardest conversation he’d had as a manager.

Elphick has let the dependable right-back go despite him playing a key part in United’s 2021-22 Isthmian south east title triumph.

He revealed it was because he had two others in his squad – Tom Chalmers and Kane Penn – who could play at right-back and in other positions and he hard to look hard at his overall budget. Goldsmith has taken the decision with good grace, saying on Twitter: “Just want to thank @hastingsufc for all the support over the last couple seasons. Going to miss this club. Looking for a new club and challenge this season.”

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Marcus Goldsmith is leaving Hastings United but Gary Elphick says it was a tough call to make / Picture: Scott White

His departure – which follows that of Kenny Pogue and Dave Martin from last season’s squad – comes as Elphick reveals the majority of the title-winning line-up had committed to staying at The Pilot Field for the new challenge of the Isthmian premier division.

Skipper Jack Dixon is one who the club have confirmed has put pen to paper, but news of others is imminent – while one or possibly two new signings are set to be revealed in the next week or so, including one exciting forward who has had a spell at Ipswich Town.

Elphick said: “With Marcus it was a really difficult decision – it was the hardest conversation I’ve had in my time in management.

"I really like Marcus and he’s done a superb job in the team. I’m gutted to have to let him go and he can consider himself unlucky. I’m certain he will go on to do well at another club.

"As for Jack Dixon signing on again, he’s really important to us. When I got the manager’s job he rallied the lads. He’s part of the furniture at the club – a local lad who stands for everything the club stands for.”

Elphick said he was delighted players he wanted to stay were happy to do so. Pre-season training starts on July 2 with the first friendly at East Grinstead on July 16.

On Wednesday, July 6, (7pm) Elphick, Dixon and coaches Andrew Brown and Ben Cornelius will be at a fans’ forum at Hastings United Sports & Social Club, hosted by Hastings United Independent Supporters Club. Read more about the forum at sussexworld.co.uk