CHAIRMAN Stewart Donald said it was "the logical choice" to appoint Richard Hill as permanent Eastleigh manager.

Bringing back the man who guided the Spitfires to the Conference South title in his first full season in charge has been like comfort blanket for the club after a sobering 2016/17 that has seen Chris Todd, Ronnie Moore and Martin Allen depart.

Having led Eastleigh to the National League, Hill took them to the play-offs but left shortly into the 2015/16 campaign having, by his own high standards, hit a minor rocky patch of results.

“Richard did ever so well when he was here before and he left too early," said Donald.

“Since he went, I’ve made more funds available and Richard has always spent money well.

“Hopefully with what’s available to him now, he’ll be able to deliver.

“He seemed the logical choice. He’s a good tactician, he knows how to spot a player and he knows the league.

“Last time he was here, he didn’t have enough of a team around him with experience and Andy Hessenthaler will bring that as his assistant.

"Andy’s our sort of guy.

“He’s hard-working, very knowledgeable at this level and above, he’s a good coach and very well respected.

"He’s got connections with a lot of London-based players and we’re expecting to pick up a few players from those connections.

“Richard and Andy will steady the ship and help us kick on now.”

While Eastleigh's season has been poor on the pitch, it has been a triumph off it.

Donald was moved to tears on Saturday as the Spitfires' magnificent, new two-storey clubhouse complex was packed to the rafters for the player-of-the-year-awards.

The £2 million building will be officially opened on Tuesday evening.

Popular left-back Michael Green took both The Spitfires Supporters' Club and fans' player-of-the-season prizes, while ex-Barnet midfielder Sam Togwell captured the players' vote.