ANDY Samuels is standing down as manager of Sydenhams Wessex One side Romsey Town at the end of the season.

He took his final home game in charge last weekend – a 3-2 win over Whitchurch United – and will bow out with two away games at US Portsmouth on (April 13) and Petersfield Town on April 20.

It brings the curtain down on a fruitful four-and-a-half year stay at the Bypass Ground in which Samuels has transformed the team from basement strugglers to Sydenhams Wessex One promotion contenders.

Speaking after Saturday’s game, Romsey's vice-chairman Phil Rowland explained: “Andy has decided this will be his last season with us and, as such, we will be undertaking the process of recruiting for a new head of football and first-team coach/ manager shortly.

“We totally understand and respect the decision Andy has taken.

“There have been a number of factors behind his decision and he’s kept us fully updated on those towards the back end of the season.

“Andy has done a superb job here, taking over a team that was at the foot of Wessex One four years ago and turning us into a side pushing for promotion for the last two consecutive seasons.

“Andy leaves us with our utmost respect, our sincere gratitude for the excellent job he’s done and with our very best wishes for the future.

“We know he’s looking forward to stepping away and spending much more time with his young family and having a fullydeserved rest.”

Explaining the timing of the announcement, coming as it does before the end of the current campaign, Rowland said: “Andy wanted the opportunity to thank the supporters at our last home game.

“The people that matter to him – his family, management team, the players, club staff and, of course, the supporters – were all going to be here and we felt it was the appropriate and respectful thing to do.

“Most football managers tend to leave their positions under difficult circumstances but, with Andy, the reverse is true.

“We agreed it was right for him to acknowledge the people that have supported him throughout his time with us and for them to get the opportunity to say ‘well done’ and ‘good luck’ at our ground.

“This club means so much to him and it was only fitting that it was done here today.”

Outlining the credentials needed to succeed Samuels as manager, Rowland explained: “We are looking for a candidate that understands the philosophy of the club, its aspirations and the way we do things here.

“They also need to know the restraints as we’re not a club that can afford to chuck money at players.

“We’ve progressed both on and off the field during the past few years due to careful and thoughtful planning, patience and stability,”

he continued.

“Our next manager will need to be the right fit for us as well as us being the right fit for them.”

Romsey are currently fourth in the table, behind Amesbury Town, Hythe & Dibden and AFC Stoneham, and look destined to finish just shy of the promotion places for a second year running.

But Rowland stressed: “We still have two games to play and we’re all still very much focused on finishing the season strongly.

“Andy’s commitment, as is ours, is 100 per cent between now and our last game of the season away to Petersfield.

“Obviously, we have to plan for next season and decisions will need to be made and we’ll be doing that accordingly, but today was about Andy getting a result on his last home game for the club”

Applications for the position of first-team manager can be made with a covering letter and footballing CV to romseytownfc@