Former Southend United midfielder Mark Bentley has stepped down as manager of Grays Athletic after their mid-table finish to the Ryman Premier season.

In a statement announcing his departure on Wednesday, the 37-year-old, pictured, told fans it had been a “privilege and an honour” to manage the club since stepping in as caretaker manager in January 2015 after Jody Brown’s exit to Welling United.

The ex-Shrimper, who stood down after his side’s 15th placed finish to the campaign, the same position when he took the helm, said: “This has not been an easy decision to make but I believe the commitment and work required over the summer is quite substantial. I am just about to start my A license badge training next month at St George’s Park so for me that is a big priority.

“It has been extremely tough for me these past few months and I believe for someone who wants to progress in management and coaching this is the best choice for me at this time.

“It has been a privilege and honour to manage Grays Athletic and I would like to thank everyone involved with the club but especially Glenn, David, Jack and Sim and especially the supporters who have supported me and stuck by me. I wish you all the best of luck for the future as the club moves in a new direction.”

The Blues thanked Bentley for his services and confirmed the hunt was now underway to appoint his successor. “The club would like to place on record its sincere thanks and gratitude to Mark Bentley for everything he has done for the club over the past two seasons,” said a spokesman.

“Who will forget the fantastic unbeaten run and cup final in the 2014-15 season. Everyone at the club wishes him all the very best of luck in what is surely to be a long and successful career in football management.

“The search now begins for a new manager to replace Bentley. The club will now start the interviewing process to find the right man for the job and it is hoped that an announcement will be made as soon as possible.”


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