Shake-up at Southwick ahead of new season

Ross Myers sealed a switch to Shoreham from Southwick over the summer.
Ross Myers sealed a switch to Shoreham from Southwick over the summer.

The joint management duo of Jeff Piner and Tony Gratwicke will no longer be taking charge of Southwick Football Club in Southern Combination League Division 1 this season.

Gratwicke and Piner were appointed to replace John Kilgarriff as bosses earlier in the summer, while former East Preston manager Paul Ettridge joined in a head coach capacity.

Circumstances have changed for Piner during pre-season, though, which means he will no longer be taking charge as a joint boss.

A managerial shake-up now sees Gratwicke take charge in a sole manager role, while Ettridge will still be helping out as head coach.

Gratwicke, who led Mile Oak from Brighton League football through to the now Southern Combination League during a successful previous tenure, admits it has not been ideal preparation in pre-season.

He said: “There has been a change in circumstances so Jeff and I will no longer be joint managers.

“I will be taking sole responsibility of the team with Paul coming on board as a head coach.

“Paul was someone I wanted for his coaching expertise and I’m pleased he’s still going to be involved.”

Wickers kick off the new season with a Peter Bentley Cup first round clash at home to fellow SCFL Division 1 outfit Bexhill United.

Neither Gratwicke or Ettridge are around for the season opener, so Piner and Mark Hilfiker will be taking charge for one game only.

Manager Gratwicke and head coach Ettridge are due back for Wickers’ opening league game against last season’s runners-up Little Common a week on Saturday.

Gratwicke is then hoping for some stability and added: “Everything should be settled down once myself and Paul are back on the touchline.

“I’m not setting any goals this season, I think that sets you up for disappointment on occasions.

“We struggled for consistency last season and, with a young squad here again this campaign, it could be something we struggle to find once again in various matches this season.”

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