STEPPING DOWN: Geoff Thwaites
STEPPING DOWN: Geoff Thwaites

OFFICIALS at Barnard Castle FC are on the look-out for a new manager.
Club stalwart Geoff Thwaites has decided to take a step back after about 25 years at the helm.
Mr Thwaites will continue as secretary and help out with grounds keeping duties at the Tensfield pitch but has decided to step away from the touchline on a Saturday.
The club currently plays in the Crook and District League, but has ambitions to compete at a higher level.
Huge strides have been made in recent years to improve facilities, starting with the move from the Shaw Bank pitch to Tensfield, in the centre of Barnard Castle, where the drainage, playing surface and surroundings have been improved.
Work continues to expand and modernise the changing facilities and plans have been lodged to develop a car park within the ground.
On the playing side, the club has lost a number of senior players in the last couple of seasons.
However, a merger with Barnard Castle Juniors FC, aims to develop a pathway for players to progress to senior football in the coming years.
Club chairman John Close said the ideal candidate for the manager's job would have a Football Association coaching badge, a commitment to working with and developing young adult footballers, a desire to lead the team to on field success and the aspiration to compete at a higher standard.
“Geoff has been phasing himself out over the course of the season but has now stepped back almost completely,” said Mr Close.
“I have been leading the side for most of the season but my family commitments are making it more difficult for me to continue and commit to every Saturday afternoon.
“It is for this reason that the club is advertising for a new manager.”
Mr Close said he would continue to take charge of the side until a suitable candidate is appointed.
He paid tribute to Mr Thwaites' service and dedication to the club – formerly Bowes FC – over many years.
“The club is so grateful to Geoff's commitment and efforts over the last quarter of a century,” said Mr Close.
“He has driven the club forward from one that competed in the Wensleydale Creamery League on a pitch without changing rooms, to a club which now has improving facilities which we hope will enable us to compete at step seven and an affiliation with the junior set-up in Barnard Castle Youth Football Club.”

Anyone interested in the position can contact Mr Close on 07999 339512, Jimmy Raine on 07944 669074, or Mr Thwaites on 07886 897652.