Shock for Yachtsmen as boss Hilton quits

RIDGEONS LEAGUE: Damian Hilton has quit as manager of Ridgeons League Premier Division champions Wroxham. Hilton resigned at an emergency general meeting at Trafford Park convened to discuss the club's increasing on-field disciplinary problems, following a recent spate of red cards.

Damian Hilton has quit as manager of Ridgeons League Premier Division champions Wroxham.

Hilton resigned at an emergency general meeting at Trafford Park convened to discuss the club's increasing on-field disciplinary problems, following a recent spate of red cards.

But the agenda was abruptly revised as Hilton announced he was quitting the team he led to championship glory last season.

The striker told club officials that although he was concerned about the recent disciplinary problems, he was standing down because he still wanted to play and management was getting in the way.

“I have enjoyed running the team and winning the championship, but since I've been back on the field filling in for players who were unavailable, I've come to realise I cannot also manage effectively,” Hilton said.

“So if I want to be part of a playing team on the pitch I feel I ought to give up the manager's job. Quite simply I cannot do both and I wish to carry on playing while I am able.”

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Hilton, just into his 30s, has undoubtedly established a distinguished playing career with the Yachtsmen. And apart from a brief spell with Lowestoft Town he has put in many seasons with the club during which he suffered a particularly serious leg injury at Harwich, which after a long convalescence seemed to take the edge of his game for a long period.

Even so, this season, in the absence of central defender Graham Challon, Hilton has turned in some authoritative performances at centre back and if he leaves the club entirely the squad will undoubtedly miss his influence, although it is not certain he will offer his playing services elsewhere.

Club chairman Tom Jarrett has no doubt about Hilton's major contribution to Wroxham since he was thrown in at the deep end of management in May 2005 with fewer than a dozen top players on the books.

“Damian has done this club proud and all of us and the fans were delighted when he piloted the team to the Ridgeons Premier Championship last season,” he said.

“On behalf of all at Trafford Park I wish to thank him for leaving the club in such fine shape and we wish him well wherever he intends to play. I seriously hope that he might follow up his own suggestion that he could assist the young lads in the reserves who are at present top of the Anglian Combination Premier Division.”

In the meantime Graham Challon has been appointed caretaker manager, and he said of his former boss: “Damian Hilton is the best manager I have ever played for. I am sad to see him go but I can understand why.”

Applications for one of the most prestigious managerial positions in local non-league football should go to Tom Jarrett by telephone (01603 755075 between the hours of 8.30am and 5pm, Mondays to Fridays. Applications will be open until November 27.