Paul Smith departs Walsham-le-Willows as first-team boss after 18 years at the helm

Paul Smith, has stepped down from Walsham after 18 years as manager Photo: ANDY ABBOTT

Paul Smith, has stepped down from Walsham after 18 years as manager Photo: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Paul Smith has stepped down as first-team manager of Walsham-le-Willows after 18 years in charge.

The 58-year-old met with the club’s committee on Tuesday night and both parties agreed it was time to go their separate ways.

Trevor Newman has been appointed as the new man in charge.

In his time as boss at Summer Road, Smith, a former prolific striker with Woodbridge Town, Harwich, Diss and Sudbury Town, has taken the village side from the Suffolk & Ipswich League up to Step 5 football and the Eastern Counties League – all on a shoestring budget.

It’s been a remarkable achievement.

He is disappointed to be leaving, but feels no bitterness.

“It’s been a long journey and I’ve enjoyed it,” Smith said.

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“Things have to come to an end sometime and there is no animosity on my part. I thought about whether I wanted to carry on at the end of last season but I thought I would.

“Pre-season hasn’t been great. Me and the committee had a long talk and we decided to go our own ways.”

Walsham’s rise up the non-league pyramid owes much to Smith.

He joined Walsham in 2000 and the club won the Suffolk Senior Cup in 2006. Promotions and league titles have come – the club have been at Step 5 for 12 seasons.

“We’ve done well on a very tight budget,” Smith said.

“I hear of some of the money being banded about these days – it’s crazy. And often not fun.

“I’ll take a few weeks out now. But I want to stay in the game. I don’t think my wife will want me about the house every Saturday!”

Keith Mills, chairman of Walsham said: “Obviously it was a very difficult decision for us to take.

“But we felt we needed a change. Paul has been here such a long time, perhaps we were all getting a bit stale.

“What Paul has done at Walsham is remarkable and we want to thank him for all his efforts.

“His contribution has been immense, a true football man, outstanding individual and someone who has had an outstanding career as a player and manager.

“Trevor Newman will take over now. He was assistant manager last season. We wish him well.”

Smith added: “I want to thank all players, fans and Walsham people who have supported me over the many years at the club.”

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