Spennymoor Town FC has confirmed that Jason Ainsley has left his post as First Team Manager of the club.
Ainsley was the longest-serving manager in the top seven tiers of English football, having held the position for more than 14 years.
The decision to make the change was agreed mutually by Jason and Chief Executive, Brad Groves earlier this week.
Mr Groves said: “Jason and I have been in agreement for a long time that there would be a clear moment where this change was needed; it has always been in the long term plan for the club.
“With the scale of our ambition and the multi-million-pound investment I have made in the club, there is now increased pressure on performance across the board. With the additional pressure the Covid-19 pandemic has brought, that moment has arrived quicker than we thought.”
Ainsley will now be taking some time away from football to spend with his family. He also holds a senior role as Head of Key Stage Four at Mortimer Community College.
Once he has taken time to recharge his batteries, he plans to resume work within Mr Groves’ group of companies in a sporting role yet to be finalised.
Mr Groves continued: “As someone who said he was not sure he had what it takes to be a football manager when I joined the club, Jason has achieved some incredible things at the helm of the team.
“There are obvious ones like the FA Vase, the amazing trip to Guernsey, the FA Cup First Round Proper and all of the silverware. But there have been so many late comebacks, memorable performances, and crucial wins too. That is testament to the character he instilled in his players year after year.
“There is no doubt he will go down in history as one of the most influential and loved people ever at this club. He is already a legend within Spennymoor and is a cherished friend of my family, which will always be the case.
“This is not the end of Jason’s story with the club. There will be plenty of opportunities for supporters to see him and his family in person at the match in the future to show their gratitude for what he has done for Spennymoor.
“We are already in discussions for him to use his expertise and keep his passion for football and Spennymoor alive in other ways with us. But, for now, I am pleased he is taking some time for a well-earned rest.”
Assistant Manager Tommy Miller will take over as Interim First Team Manager on a full-time basis, starting this Saturday with the away trip to York City.
The structure of the management team of the club is under review during the interim period.
Ainsley was in charge for more than 770 games and won 11 trophies with Spennymoor Town during a charge up the non-league ladder where he guided the Moors to four promotions and the pinnacle of semi-professional football.
The club now sits at the highest level in its history with the ambition and infrastructure to continue to chase further promotions.