GARRY Flitcroft has stepped down as manager of Chorley – and has been replaced in the hotseat by his assistant and former Blackburn Rovers team-mate Matt Jansen.

Flitcroft guided the Magpies to two promotions, from the Northern Premier League First Division North to the Conference North, and two Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy triumphs in his five seasons at Victory Park.

His last match in charge of the club was May’s Conference North play-off final which Chorley lost 3-2 to miss out on a place in the top-flight of non-league football.

Jansen will be assisted by former club stalwarts Jamie Vermiglio and Jonathan Smith.

Magpies chairman Ken Wright said: “Garry has done a fantastic job for us and will go down in club history for his success; winning two promotions including the Northern Premier League title, lifting the Lancashire Challenge Trophy twice and taking us to the Conference North play-off final during his five seasons in charge at Victory Park.

“He has also built an infrastructure at the club, laying down strong foundations to build on in the future.

“Once Garry had told us of his decision it was his recommendation that the position be handed to his assistant Matt Jansen, we had a meeting with Matt and the other two lads over the weekend and within a short space of time it became very evident that it was the correct decision not to look any further and appoint Matt as Garry’s replacement.”

Flitcroft, who will now take a place on the board of directors at Chorley, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in charge but changing business circumstances and the need to support my lads on their football journey like my dad did for me, have meant I cannot devote the necessary time and commitment into sustaining a leading non-league club and could not work to the standards that I set myself.

“I had to think long and hard over my decision as the club and its supporters have become a big part of my life but in the end my head had to rule my heart and it was with more than a touch of sadness I had to make the decision to stand down as manager.

“I still plan to be around the club on game days and I look forward to helping wherever I can behind the scenes to get the club to its highest possible level.

”I would like to thank the board of directors who have backed me all the way, all of the players who have come in over the last five seasons, as they have all been outstanding for me and been a massive part of the success I’ve had.

”Last but not least the supporters for their backing and support home and away no matter if it was Saturday, midweek or how far the journey was and would just ask them to get behind Matt and the lads in the same way they backed me.”

After taking his first pre-season session with the squad tonight (Thursday) Jansen said: “Garry standing down did kind of come out of the blue but I fully understand his decision.

”Garry said he wanted me to take up the reigns and carry on the job we were only really part way through.

“It didn’t take me anytime to make my mind up and after meeting Ken (Wright) and Graham (Watkinson) at the weekend it was apparent that they had the same thoughts, I am absolutely delighted as well as excited to take on the job.”