Neil Fryatt has stepped down.

FOOTBALL: Following the restructuring of the club below first team level during the week, I am paying tribute to Neil Fryatt, writes Mark Hearle.

He has decided to step down from his roles at the club after many years of loyal service, both on and off the field. 

Neil was offered a new position within the structure but after consideration felt that the time was right for a change. 

I’ve known Neil for many seasons and watched his Linnets playing career from a distance, as a supporter, before getting to know him in the many positions he has held at the club. These have included joint first team manager, assistant first team manager, reserve team manager and youth team manager. He is most certainly a man for all seasons. 

Anyone who knows Neil will tell you he is someone who wears his heart on his sleeve and, dare I say, someone who doesn’t suffer fools gladly!

That was the case every time he pulled on a blue and gold shirt to play or a tracksuit to coach and manage. 

Only Neil will know his highlights from his time at The Walks but three occasions I can recall will, I’m sure, sit high in his recollections when he has had the time to think. 

The fantastic achievement of reaching the first round proper of the FA Youth Cup for two consecutive seasons, culminating in visits to Northampton Town and Ipswich Town, should never be forgotten. 

What hasn’t been forgotten for me is the time when Neil, along with Rob Back, took charge of the first team following Simon Clark’s dismissal. 

A team low in confidence and belief faced a real banana skin of an FA Cup replay at Thurlow Nunn League side Histon Town, who had almost dumped the Linnets out of the competition the previous Saturday. On a damp and miserable evening the pair oversaw a thumping 7-0 win, which ignited the belief, steadied the ship and laid the foundations ahead of Ian Culverhouse’s return later that same season. 

Neil is a modest man but you do have to ask the question would the club be preparing for life in the National League today had it not been for that Neil and Backie combo almost two years ago? 

Linnets fans should never forget the input of Neil Fryatt into their football club over these past years. Thank you Neil.