By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ian Reid, chair of the Ashington Supporters Club, reflecting on the last five years has said that Ian Skinner has gone out on a high.

In his own words in an open letter to the club’s social media, Skinner waved ‘goodbye from the touchline’ as manager following Thursday’s 2-1 defeat against Newcastle United U21s in the semi final of the Newcastle Flooring Northumberland Senior Cup but added that ‘it’s not necessarily farewell.’ The club announced that Skinner will ‘maintain a role as a Director’ at the Woodhorn Lane based outfit.

Mr Reid, chair for over ten years said: “I can understand why he (Ian Skinner) has decided to step down from the manager’s role because he has got a lot on his plate. However, I think he has gone out on a high and we all applaud him for that. He won us a couple of pieces of silverware with the Ebac Northern League Division One Cup as well as the Cleator Cup plus the memorable run we had in the FA Cup last year and of course getting the club promoted into the Northern Premier League at the end of the season. That away game when we won the Inter Step play off final against Glossop 3-0 was the highlight – but to be honest for me, it is also the stand out moment over the last 50-60 years. Even supporters who have been going to matches for a long time have said that was a massive highlight because it was another step up the rung.”

He continued: “The only other occasion which would run it close was winning the Northumberland Senior Cup in 2013 when we defeated Whitley Bay at St James Park. On that night it was one of the best footballing performances which I had seen by an Ashington side for a long time.”

He added: “Off the field, Brian Shotton also deserves the maximum amount of credit. When he took over as chairman five years ago, it was at a difficult time but with his drive and enthusiasm, he got other people on board to help him and the club have gone in one direction. The players who were brought in wanted to play for the club and we stayed up that season – and we just seem to have pushed on from there. It’s been like going up a hill – but on a motor cycle and not walking and we’ve advanced very quickly.”

On Friday morning, the club announced that Andy Coyles and Richie Hill – assistant manager and coach respectively in the management team alongside Skinner – had been appointed to take over in the joint role as head coaches.

Mr Reid said: “All the lads I’ve been speaking to are all quite happy because Andy (Coyles) and Richie (Hill) are two good lads plus its continuity within the club. Personally speaking I think it’s an ideal appointment and the thing that stood out for me is that the pair must have the club at heart. They wanted the job; they are both Uefa ‘A’ licence coaches and are prepared to travel from Richmond every week – and you cannot ask more than that.”