Russell and Vines leaving Lewes FC

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Lewes FC Men’s first team manager Tony Russell and his assistant Joe Vines are leaving the club at the end of the season.

It was announced on Saturday, before the Rooks recorded their fourth straight win in the Isthmian premier division, beating Hashtag United 2-1 thanks to second half goals by Bradley Pritchard and Ola Ogunwamide, putting them seventh in the table with one game to play.

Lewes issued a statement which said: “Tony and Joe joined the Club in April 2021, guiding the club to a 7th place finish in their first season. This was followed by a 6th place in the 2022/23 season, The Rooks missing out on a play-off spot on goal difference.

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“2023/24 saw the club progress to the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, the furthest point it had made in the competition in over a decade. The management duo’s three years in charge saw many memorable moments including blockbuster matches against Margate, Worthing and Enfield in 2021-22, Bishop’s Stortford, Hornchurch and Bognor Regis in 2022-23 and Hastings, Horsham, Hampton & Richmond and Enfield in 2023/24.”

Tony Russell makes his Dripping Pan farewell on Saturday | Picture: James BoyesTony Russell makes his Dripping Pan farewell on Saturday | Picture: James Boyes
Tony Russell makes his Dripping Pan farewell on Saturday | Picture: James Boyes

It really is a time of change at the club – last week Scott Booth’s departure as manager of the women’s team was announced – days before they were relegated from the Women’s Championship – while CEO Maggie Murphy had earlier annouced she was moving on at the end of the season.

Meanwhile Murphy said of Russell and Vines’ decsion: “We thank Tony and Joe for the countless hours that go into managing at this level and for helping to create some truly memorable moments with some truly memorable players they brought in. We wish them the best.”

Russell said on X he had decided before Christmas he would leave at the end of the season and his time at the Pan had been one of his best footballing experiences. He said his departure was not about going to another club because at present he did not have one.

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Russell cited the departure of former chairman Stuart Fuller from the boardroom as one factor in his decision.

Saturday was Tony Russell and Joe Vines' final home game in the Rooks dugout | Picture: James BoyesSaturday was Tony Russell and Joe Vines' final home game in the Rooks dugout | Picture: James Boyes
Saturday was Tony Russell and Joe Vines' final home game in the Rooks dugout | Picture: James Boyes

The match against Hashtag United was the pair’s final home game at The Dripping Pan and it turned into something of a celebration of their spell at the helm.

They will still be taking the team to the Fenix Trophy finals in Italy in May, their last games for the club.

Lewes added: “Announcements on the recruitment process for the appointment of a new 1st team manager will be made in due course.

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