Melton Town looks set for a major revamp after a dramatic week of change at Digital Deadline Park.
Last Friday the club unveiled a new management team of Tom Manship and Jon Stevenson while announcing the resignation of Shane Jarram.
Manship and Stevenson take charge as joint-managers with plans to use their contacts in higher levels of the game to recruit a raft of new faces and take Town out of step six and up the non-league pyramid.
It will be the first managerial role for both, and they will continue to play for Town following their move from Evostik South League side Gresley.
Manship (31), who lives in Waltham, made more than 100 appearances in the Conference with Hyde United and Hinckley, while Stevenson has Premier League experience with Leicester City before injury forced his early retirement from the professional game.
“Someone from local football approached me and asked whether I would help a local team up through the leagues, but I said I wasn’t interested.
“He came back again and mentioned a player-manager role so I agreed to meet the club and was sold a vision of where we could take the club.
“I talked to Jon about it and he fancied it.
“I have got my coaching badge, but to get the UEFA badge you need experience in charge of a team so that also swung it for me.
“I had offers to stay at the same level for decent money, so to come here for money is a risk, but there are massive rewards if it comes off.”
The 31-year-old has persuaded four players from previous clubs to join the project, in principal until transfer windows re-open, while talks are also under way with a prospective assistant manager.
The pitch at Melton Sports Village is also to be relaid and the club will now train at Brooksby Melton College’s state-of-the-art facilities as the new managers look to get the foundations in place for a run at promotion.
“We are going to get the best team we can together,” Manship explained.
“There are some special players already here, but the majority will be coming down from higher leagues. There will be expenses for the players, but no budget.
He added: “I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited because I’m Melton born and bred and want to be the first manager to get a Melton side into step five.
“I see this as a sleeping giant. A town of this size should have a football team inside the top three tiers. I want to get people talking about the club.”
Chairman Sam Ellis has also welcomed the support of Tom’s father John, to help develop the club’s commercial side, but he is not expected to join the board, at least at this stage.
“I felt the club needed to move forward and we couldn’t turn down an opportunity like this,” said Ellis.
“They look like they are going to make some interesting signings and the team he is putting together should do very well.
“John will be helping out behind the scenes with our commercial manager Kane Radford and we’ll be looking to get some sponsorship in.
“It’s going to be a very exciting time.”
Jarram left the club less than a week after Town finished the season 16th in United Counties League Division One.
The campaign began well and Melton continued to pick up some impressive results against leading sides in the division, while reaching the county cup semi-finals.
But the team, hampered by regular changes in playing personnel, were plagued by inconsistency and failed to put together back-to-back league wins all season.
The run-in was particularly tough, with Town twice conceding six, as well as a 7-0 defeat at Huntingdon Town.
“I have been with the club for 13 years and for nearly all of them we have been challenging near the top,” Ellis added.
“Shane had bad luck with injuries to key players and getting through 10 keepers in a season, and I think towards the end that caught up with them a little.
“It became a tough season, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of confidence or ability.”