Football: Bentley in the driving seat at Grays Ath as Andy Swallow sets out vision for 2015

GRAYS Ath has announced that experienced midfielder, Mark Bentley has taken over as caretaker manager after true sudden departure of boss Jody Brown.

In an earlier statement club owner Andy Swallow said of Bentley

"In the short term I’m going to hand the team to Mark Bentley with my full support while we go through the process of choosing a new manager. I couldn’t of handed it to him straight away as he was going away on a pre planned holiday. It will take a lot of time to get the right manager and I can’t do both so I will allow Mark to stamp he’s authority on the team , he’s experience will be vital."

Mark will remain as manager until a full time replacement for Jody Brown has been appointed. This is expected within the next few weeks.

We wish Mark all the very best in his new position at the club.

Mr Swallow went on to tell fans that 2015 would be a year full of different challenges.

He said:

First things first I’d like to thank and wish all our supporters a Happy New Year and to apologise for two poor performances which were not acceptable against local teams .

The players are ashamed of those results and they are the words used by the captain, Kenny Beaney after the Hornchurch game in the changing room .

It’s a difficult time with Jody leaving and waiting for the planning application result , as this will dictate the way forward for the club . I’d like to come on here and give you news on the application but I’m afraid I know no more than anyone else . But please don’t read anything into that, the planning application goes through a process which should conclude mid January and I have no doubt that George and Glyn will most probably hear before me, Ha!!! .

There’s been a very positive response to the new managers job and i’d like to thank everyone who has applied for the job .There have been some very strong candidates for the position and I’m sure once we speak to them it’s going to be a very hard decision as there’s a lot of quality there.

I’ve been asked if there’s a plan B or C if the planning decision does not go our way. The answer is yes. The main concern has always been Grays Athletic playing football but I will reiterate by saying that we must return home to our own ground some day, as it’s unhealthy for a club of our size to not have a home to call our own.

Aveley have been tremendous with us over the past 2 seasons and I’m sure there will be something there for us while we try and realise our dream of returning home, and I like to personally thank everyone at Aveley FC .

In the short term I’m going to hand the team to Mark Bentley with my full support while we go through the process of choosing a new manager. I couldn’t of handed it to him straight away as he was going away on a pre planned holiday. It will take a lot of time to get the right manager and I can’t do both so I will allow Mark to stamp he’s authority on the team , he’s experience will be vital. Please do not think that when I say a long time deciding I mean months or weeks, the decision should take a matter of hours . Mark Bentley won’t know of my decision as he’s away but he follows the forum and I hope that he won’t choke on his coffee, Ha!!.

There’s been a few changes since Jody left and I’d like to thank Garth for all his hard work. The main reason I didn’t hand over the team to Garth is that he lives two and half hours away and I didn’t want to use him over the xmas period only for a new manager to come in and let Garth go so I thought a clean break the better option .

Ed’s departure is slightly different as he’s work load at Colchester has increased and he was going to cut down with us either way so I’d like to thank him for all he’s help .

Theres a couple of players who have left the club. Merrick returns to Walton Casuals. Unfortunately he just wasn’t fit enough due to a poor pre season. We wish him well .

Joseph Zerafa was only with us until the January window and was hoping to get a league club. He will be joining Jody Brown at Welling, time will tell what level Joseph can play at but good luck to him .

Freddie’s time at Kiddiminster is up on the 10th January and his loan spell with Grays end’s at the same time. I’ve spoken to Freddie and made it clear that we want him, and he now has our proposal. I am aware that there are a couple of clubs after him but he will consider our offer im sure, as he enjoys playing regular football .

So I’d like now to finish by thanking The Board who will now be worth there weight in gold as they will have to select the new manager , The whole Packer family who as well as being on the board do so much more for the club. The same goes for Keith Burns and I suppose I should thank Joel Nathan who I regularly moan at.

Rhino who has settled into the kitmans roll who I hope will stay with the club for years to come, his work never ends!!! Geoff Wheeler and Dave Raven who have stepped up to take training and work with the squad , Jack the physio who is worth points with the way he gets the players back from injury as we have a very small squad.

Dave Hellen and Gary Fuller who work really hard with the U21s , I’d like to thank Rob Seaman who has kept the website up to date and very interesting, a thankless task, a big thanks to him. Colin for the coaches and Happy Stifford Blue for the prediction league.

A big thanks to everyone at the Supporters Trust I really appreciate all the help financially and just being there it really helps . Glyn Jarvis and George Watts for there support and guidance through the planning application. Glyn Balmer and everyone who puts together our great programme. All our supporters who never cease to amaze me with there words and support, and finally thanks to Kenny Beaney and all the players who I know we’re gutted not to play today as they want to put things right.

If ive missed anyone I apologise now before you catch me at the next game.

Lets get behind Mark and the boys.

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