DARREN Manning has stepped down as manager of Hullbridge Sports after a successful two and a half year spell in charge.

Manning took Sports from the Essex Senior League to the Isthmian North.

But he has now opted to leave, along with assistant manager James Wakeling “Today is a day we didn’t expect to happen,” said Manning.

“Leaving Hullbridge is a huge decision and one we have not taken lightly.”

However, Manning did not rule out making a return.

“There have been things happening behind the scenes which have made this decision happen a lot sooner than we would have wished for and who knows if these issues are rectified it could see us return to a club we hold very close to our heart in the not too distant future,” said Manning.

“But we can’t thank the committee enough for their support and work over the last two and a half years and class them all as friends.”

Hullbridge were 15th in the standings when the season ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And Manning was keen to thank all of the players who had played a part in Sports’ success.

“Most importantly, the players that have put their trust in me and James, we can’t thank you enough,” said Manning.

“No matter if it was one game or 99 we thank you for your efforts and love you dearly.

“But, what a journey, it has been from bottom of the Essex Senior League to mid-table in the Isthmian.

“Who would have thought little old Hullbridge could do that?”