DEPARTING manager John Snape insisted he would leave Worcester City with “fond memories” despite feeling supporters had “wanted a change”.

Snape resigned after two-and-a-half seasons in charge yesterday and was named Paul Smith’s new assistant at Halesowen Town less than 24 hours later.

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Revered from his playing days at City, Snape was drafted in as first-team coach by Carl Heeley in July 2013 and stepped up to become assistant manager following the departure of Matt Gardiner to Kidderminster Harriers.

The ex-Bromsgrove Rovers boss then took the reins temporarily in January 2016 when Heeley resigned amid budget cuts with the club in the thick of a National North relegation battle.

City finished in the drop zone but the club had opted to take voluntary demotion anyway, ending up in the Midland Football League (MFL).

Snape stayed on and recruited Lee Hughes as joint-manager, keeping City in the hunt for promotion to the board’s desired level of step four for most of the campaign.

But when Hughes left within 24 hours of then-chairman Anthony Hampson announcing the playing budget may need to be axed altogether to fund a new stadium in March 2018 a number of high-profile names followed.

Snape again stuck with it and rebuilt on a reduced budget but despite a promising start, City drifted out of contention and finished 11th in the MFL Premier Division.

That form saw grumbles grow from an expectant fanbase with Snape acknowledging that had played a part in his decision to accept Smith’s offer.

“I left Worcester City because I felt it was time for a change, I have been thinking that for a while with how results went and how the crowd was,” said Snape.

“They wanted a change, now they have one.

“I had some excellent support at the club and the past six years have been brilliant, I have enjoyed every minute since Carl brought me in.

“There is a new adventure for me now but I cannot thank the people who did support me enough.

“To those that didn’t, all I would say is I always wanted the best for the football club and that was one of the reasons why I left.

“A new chairman and board has come in over the past year, yes there were wrangles and disappointments off the pitch with the ground situation rumbling on but this was about me feeling it needed a fresh approach.

“I think I stabilised the club at a time it needed that. This time six years ago we probably expected the ground to be sorted by now but that has not come to fruition for a number of reasons.

“We split amicably and I leave with fond memories. I wish the club and everyone there every success for the future from the bottom of my heart.”

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Fans might have been split on Snape’s record but one thing they tended to agree on was that off-field situations had dealt him pretty rough hand.

“I think the key thing is that the club is still going and has a future,” Snape added.

“I am not saying it is a difficult job because that would be unfair on what is a fantastic football club.

“With my own absence through different reasons last season it was time for a change. I think the club wanted it, especially the fanbase, and it has happened.

“The position we finished in last season was not good enough. There were many reasons and caveats but I won’t hide behind anything and that was one of the reasons I felt it was time for a change.

“There is a lot of time for the club to get things sorted out. I have no hang ups about it, my time has been fantastic with the FA Cup runs and working with former team-mates Carl and Matt.

“It is time for a new person at the helm and I think they have an ideal, up-and-coming manager in Ash Vincent.

“I was looking for a new challenge and the opportunity to work with Paul Smith at Halesowen, a club close to my heart from my playing days, is a good one.”

Snape rounded off his exit interview with a few thank yous. 

“I’d like to thank both chairmen for giving me the job,” he said. 

“Anthony Hampson got a lot of stick but I had a great time working with him. He was always forthcoming and happy to help in any capacity and it was the same with Steve Goode.

“Above all I would like to thank all the staff, not just on the playing side but around the ground. People like the kitman (Jed Hallam), the Cooper family and everyone else for their support.

“The football secretaries I worked with (Joe Murphy and Kevin Preece) were a fantastic support too.

“There are too many people to mention but I’d like everyone to know I appreciate all of those connected with the club during my time.”