Ramsbottom United have moved quickly to replace Chris Willcock by announcing that his assistant, Lee Donafee, will be taking the first XI reigns for the forthcoming season.

With just three weeks to go before the season commences, it was a natural progression to appoint the very popular Liverpudlian into the ‘top job’ as soon as possible.

Club Secretary Tony Cunningham stated that, in his interview on Thursday evening, that is was the simple choice, given the work that he has done with the team over the last couple of seasons and across the board, including with the Development and Junior sides.

“Lee was the best choice for the job once it was known that Chris was leaving us to go to Workington,” Tony said.  “He came across very well last night and wanted to take on the managerial role and both Harry and myself were impressed, as we have been throughout with Lee as he is a genuinely good person and works tirelessly across the club, from the first XI through to the development and juniors.

“It was a simple decision and we hope that Lee will continue the good work that he has done alongside Chris to take the club further again.”

‘Diego’, as he is universally known, joined Ramsbottom United as assistant manager with Chris Willcock in October 2018 and helped take the club into the last 16 of the FA Trophy, to the play-offs in their first season and two second-placed finishes in the two ‘null and void seasons’.

Club Chairman Harry Williams paid tribute to the former manager Willcock in an official club statement.  “Chris has done an excellent job during his time with the club.  He has increased support levels and the profile, whilst putting out successful and entertaining teams.

“He always showed great dedication to the job and we are grateful for what he has done for Ramsbottom United.

“It was a difficult decision for him, but we wish him well at Workington”.

Donafee will take charge of his first game tomorrow, when NWCFL newcomers Bury AFC head to the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium and you can read the full preview of that game here: PREVIEW BURY AFC (H)