“It’s time for the youngsters to have a go” says departing Upton manager Jennings

Departing Upton St Leonards Manager Mike Jennings believes the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League side are in a great position to build for the future. 

Jennings, who took the manager’s job at Upton just before they were relegated down into the 5th Division of the Stroud League, says going into the 19/20 season he believed the time was right for him to step away from managerial duties.

“Basically I was thinking about it [at the start of the season],” said Jennings. “You know I’m 57 now and you need a bit more drive now and some youth going forward and ideas that the youngers are bringing through and it’s time for the youngsters to have a go. 

From when I played the game has changed completely and sometimes it’s time to move on. As I’ve always said, nobody is bigger than any club and it is time to let the youth come through,” Jennings added.

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In the nearly 16 years that Jennings [pictured right in cover photo] has been at the helm, he has overseen 7 promotions – including the 2016/17 Stroud League Division One Title winning season, a season which Jennings puts down as his greatest achievement at the club.

“My ambition when we were relegated from the Stroud First down to the Fifth was that Division One title. We went up the first season from the Fifth into the Fourth and I saw that First Division title as the aim. Eventually we got there and got promoted into the Northern Senior and it’s the first time in Upton St Leonards’ history they’ve done that and it’s a great achievement.

We are only a small club, there are some bigger clubs around us in Gloucester and we are on par with them now, but we have some good guys at the club who can hopefully push us forward in the future,” said Jennings.

Jennings will continue to be involved with the club in his role as Chairman and has passed the reigns onto Lewis Scott, who will manage the First Team and Ashley Bick will take over the Reserves side and Jennings has praised the two new managers and has all the confidence in them to lead the club into a new era.

“Lewis is enthusiastic, he is a young guy and he knows a lot of younger players and he’s been on the social media a lot and he is very good that side of the game, again that was a sign I needed to take a step back. My generation didn’t have anything like that, it is all above me and it is why I need to take a step back and let Lewis and let Ashley carry us forward. 

Ashley is taking over the Second team and he too has been on social media to try and encourage new players to come down and we seem to have to have a good response so far. 

What I will be looking to do now is supporting Lewis and supporting Ashley as much as I can, because I know how hard it can be behind the scenes – to even something like washing the kit. I know what it is like to take all the kit home and ask the Mrs if you can borrow the washing machine and seeing her face drop! 

But I’m sure they will enjoy it and learn from it and also learn to appreciate the hard work that has gone into everything before for them. I know they will do well.” Jennings added.

You will be able to listen to the full interview with Mike Jennings on the Severn Sport Show on Dean Radio on Saturday from 10am and will be available on our Spotify soon after