CHARD Town have appointed former player Mark Parris as manager, in the place of Jamie Manley.

Manley and his assistant Kevin Leigh left the club after the FA's decision to relegate the Robins from the Western League to the Somerset County League for the forthcoming season, due to the slope on the pitch at Zembard Lane.

Parris, 57, said on his appointment that this would be a team affair, with Steve Friend, Andy Holmes (joint player-coaches), Scott Wells-Burr (player-goalkeeping coach) and Gary Warren making up his management structure.

Parris said: "The response from the majority of the players has been fantastic and the respect they have for the people at the club and the desire to return Chard to where they belong is very positive."

He went on to stress "how important it was to run it as one club, giving opportunities to reserve and Under-18 players, who have had a very successful season".

"At the same time, all new players will be made very welcome.

"Despite dropping back to the Somerset County League (Premier Division), it will be a very tough season, as this is still Step 7 of the Non-League pyramid, a very good standard, and involves nine trips to Bristol and of course the return of the local derby with Ilminster, which will be good for both clubs and towns."

Parris played 10 seasons at Chard, making 465 appearances and featuring in two promotions, as well as winning the Western Counties Cup.

He made his first appearance at Torquay Reserves in 1978, at the age of 16, and his first goal was away to Swanage.

He played a further four Western League seasons (approximately 180 games) before moving to Elmore in the 1988/89 season, scoring a hat-trick in the final game to clinch promotion to the Western League Premier and also winning the Les Phillips Cup, scoring in the final as Ilfracombe were beaten 5-2.

The same season, Elmore lost 9-8 on penalties to Tiverton Town in the Devon St Lukes County Bowl.

In 1990/91 he moved to Ottery St Mary and the following season onto Clyst Rovers, retiring from Western League football at the age of 30.

He played for a further 18 seasons at Combe St Nicholas, the final two as player-manager of the reserves, winning three Premier Division cups, with a very young side, four of whom figured in Chard's first team last season in James Boyland, Ben Haines, Ryan Parris and Max Westlake.