CHARD Town Football Club is looking to move forward in 2020/21, after a difficult couple of seasons in which they were demoted from the Western League.

Ashley Fussell has taken over from Mark Parris as 1st XI manager, with Gary Warren as his assistant.

There is a new reserve team manager, too, with Danny Cleal being assisted by Darren Contreras and Joe Draper; the Under-18 team will be managed by Ian Burns and Mike Hawes.

The club’s new management team has now held its first meeting, to plan for the forthcoming season.

The 1st XI has had four managers in the last five seasons, so the Robins will be looking to stabilise after a tough first season in the Somerset County League Premier Division.

Chard has put on record its thanks to ex-manager Parris, who did a good job under very challenging circumstances and will still be involved with the club.

Having received the good news that planning permission had finally been granted for a new pitch, the club now has an all-Chard management team, with Fussell and Warren looking to build on the fine work they did with Chard Reserves last season.

Cleal’s career-ending injury during a 1st XI game last season means he has now retired from playing, but he is relishing the challenge of taking on the reserve team manager’s role.

The Under-18s, who were set to win the South Division of the Western Counties Floodlight Youth League before the season was terminated, have a new management team in Burns and Hawes.

Both have experience of managing the first team and other senior clubs, and will be hoping they can push some of the young players into both the reserves and first team.

Fussell and Warren organised some of the players to form a working party at the club; these players, along with several committee members, have given their time to paint and update parts of the ground and clubhouse.

Pre-season training will take place twice a week, every Tuesday and Thursday (6.45pm start), at Holyrood Academy - these sessions will be held in line with government guidelines relating to COVID-19.

The first session was due to start yesterday (July 7) and continue tomorrow (July 9); any new players are welcome to attend.

Before attending, those players are asked to make contact with the club via its Facebook or Twitter pages, so numbers are known.