A restructure at Heanor Town this week has seen their successful reserve team disbanded and reserve boss Scott Rogers leave the club.
The Midland Football League Premier Division Lions are now setting up an U21s side and an U18s side they feel better suit the club’s needs and resources in terms of preparing their young players.
The reserves’ second place finish under rookie boss Rogers had been enough to win promotion to the Central Midlands League, but the decision to change things was taken last week and, despite being offered to stay on, ex-Mansfield Town youngster Rogers decided to leave.
Club legend Nathan Benger quickly threw his hat in the ring straight away for the U21s job and the club were delighted to appoint him.
A club spokesman said: “Nathan holds the UEFA A licence, has the club at heart and understands the vision to give talented youngsters the pathway to Step 5 football.”
Benger said “I’m very excited for the opportunity to manage Heanor Town U21s next season.
“Heanor Town is a special club to me and I hope I can help provide a pathway for young local players. This is a huge privilege and I can’t wait to get going.”
The new coach has begun his search for his backroom staff and wants to keep as many of last year’s reserve team as possible, along with additions to the squad that he is in contact with. Benger will remain as part of the first team squad as he enjoys his first taste of management.
On the switch from reserve to U21 and U18 football, a club spokesman said: “For the future, running a club at Step 5 requires numerous dedicated volunteers and, with the reserves potentially getting promoted into Step 7 if Hucknall Town aren’t promoted to Step 6, it brings with it more strain on the club’s resources off the field to effectively run a side at Step 5 and 7, “With the dramatic uptake in the new junior section and brand new teams in place from ages six to 16 it was felt that new teams at U18 and U21 would provide a better pathway for young local players at the club and in turn generate both players and also new helpers at the club,.
“This will obviously take time to bear fruit. We are proud of our history and the club’s ultimate aim will be to provide sustainable foundations and keep 1883 on our badge.
“Reserve manager Scott Rogers was offered the management position with both the U21s and U18s along with a position on the first team management, but has unfortunately turned down these roles.
“We thank him for his services and wish him all the best in the future.”
First team manager Glenn Clarence said: “Scott has done a great job. But, as he said at the time, it’s the right for the club but not the right thing for him and we thank him and wish him all the best.”
Rogers, who has now accepted a new post elsewhere, said: “I didn’t think it would work for me so I chose to leave.
“After a year of being No.1, I didn’t want to deal with having to bow down to someone else and be No.2.
“Also, Glenn and I have different ideas how football should be played.
“He prefers a more direct 4-4-2 with a little man and big man up front. I like to play 4-3-3 with an extra man in midfield to keep the ball and try to play through the midfield. So I didn’t think it would really work.
“It was a massive shock at first. I had a squad prepared for next season a full pre-season fixture list which has all gone to waste.
“When I took over I pretty much brought a whole new squad in who did so well and had great team spirit. That’s the most disappointing thing as that’s now all been ripped apart.”