TAVERNERS boss Dale Russell has stepped down at the County League outfit after 30 years at the helm.

The long-serving boss will be replaced by former Stonehouse and Hardwicke boss Mitch Fussell.

Despite standing down, Russell found it a hard decision to make, he said: “In some respects, I wish I was carrying on but the time has come when I need to hand over.

“Many people have been very supportive throughout my management career at Taverners, particularly my family - now is the time for me to repay that support.”

Russell’s long association started as player/manager for Tavs in the Stroud League Division Four in the 1982/83 season and apart from a short sabbatical when club stalwart and current second team manager Mark Llewellyn took over for one season, he has continued as manager. He guided the team out of the Stroud League into the Northern Senior League, picking up many championship trophies and cup competitions along the way.

A period of consolidation then followed before he guided the team through the two Northern Senior League divisions in the late 1990’s to the Gloucestershire County League where Taverners have performed competitively since the 2002/03 season.

The 2001/02 season was one of the many highlights he presided over when the team won the GFA Senior Amateur Cup and came a close second in the Northern Senior League to be promoted to the County League. During his management career he has secured three league champions trophies, three league runner-up trophies and won 10 various cup competitions. New incumbent Fussell is relishing the prospect of his new role.

He said: “I can’t wait to get started and will be fully committed to the cause for hopefully many years to come. If I can match Dale’s contribution, I’ll be 84 when I retire.”

The club are moving in a positive direction despite chairman John Hannis’ sad passing a couple of years ago.

Treasurer Len Keating stepped into the role on a temporary basis, but Len and the rest of the committee recognised that John’s absence had weakened the management of the club considerably and have now appointed Mike Startford as chairman with Keating now able to concentrate on his treasurer responsibilities.