Neil Reynolds admits it will be an emotionally-charged occasion this weekend when he manages Bamber Bridge for the final time.
The Brig boss will be in the dug-out at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium for the club’s NPL Premier Division clash versus Basford United, before being installed as the new manager of FC United of Manchester on Monday.
The Red Rebels have pursued Reynolds over the past two weeks or so and despite their approach initially being rebuffed, they have finally got their man after agreeing a compensation package with Brig.
FC United have been without a permanent manager since Tom Greaves’ resignation in August.
And despite receiving more than 100 applications for the job, they were determined to land Reynolds.
While excited at the prospect of taking over at Broadhurst Park, Reynolds admits there will be a tear in the eye when he says goodbye to the players, officials and fans of a club he has served as a player, coach and manager for more than a decade across two spells.
“It’s going to be really tough,” said Reynolds. “I know people connect me with Clitheroe after what I did there, but Bamber Bridge is where it kind of started for me.
“It was my first big break into non-league football when I went there at the age of 20 from Darwen.
“I had a really good time there as a player and then I came back at the age of 32.
“I’ve been fortunate to play under Tony Greenwood, be player-coach and then assistant manager to Neil Crowe.
“It’s been an absolute honour and privilege to manage the club for the past 22 months.
“In that time what we have managed to achieve on and off the pitch has been incredible.
“It’s not going to be easy on Saturday, it’s not easy talking about it. I have never hidden the fact that I want to be a full-time football manager and I do believe FC United gives me the best platform to do that.
“But it’s going to be heartbreaking leaving Bamber Bridge.
“I have made so many friends and I have so many great memories.
“You never know what the future holds, but for now it’s definitely goodbye and I have to give a huge thanks to everybody, from the fans, the players, my staff – everybody connected.”
Reynolds is also hoping his team can sign off his tenure with a victory and maintain their long unbeaten home record in the league which stretches back to November.
“Basford have been described to me as the best footballing side in the league,” said Reynolds. “They are smashing four and five goals in every week, but when we are at our best, we don’t get beaten.”