GRAHAM RIX insists the time was right to leave AFC Portchester after four years in charge of the Wessex League premier division club.
Royals chairman Paul Kelly announced that Rix has left the club by mutual consent.
Ian Saunders takes over immediately ahead of Saturday’s home game against Team Solent.
Rix admits it wasn’t an easy decision to make.
‘I am sad but it was something that had to be done,’ said Rix
‘It has been difficult to get back into the swing after being unavailable recently.
‘Having a heart attack certainly didn’t help.
‘I have been at Portchester for four years which I think is the longest I have ever been anywhere as a manager or coach.
‘The club is in a good state and the players, some of whom have been there with me since day one, have been fantastic.
‘I felt the decision to leave was right for both the club and myself.
‘The chairman has ben brilliant and helped me through some tricky periods.
‘But I am a football man and still need my football fix at weekends.
‘I have already had two or three offers but I am not going to rush into anything.
‘My enthusiasm is still there and I still have lots to offer.’
Royals chairman Kelly admitted he was disappointed by Rix’s decision to leave.
He said: ‘I am gutted because Graham is a good manager and a good family friend.’
In a statement chairman Kelly added: ‘We would like to place on record our appreciation for Graham’s hard work as manager and what he has brought to the club behind the scene along with the memories he has given the club and its fans that they will always carry with them.
‘Graham is a very popular figure here at AFC Portchester he will be welcomed back at the club at any time in the future.
‘We wish him all the best for the future.’
The Royals will be looking to bounce back on Saturday after being beaten by Horndean at Five Heads Park last weekend.