FC CLACTON insist they did everything to keep Tom Austin at the club after he quit to take over at Brightlingsea Regent.

Austin has left his position as Seasiders boss to take over at the Pitching In Premier club, with his assistant manager Ryan Salter also departing for North Road.

The R's moved quickly to announce their new manager, after Kem Izzet parted company with the Pitching In League Premier club yesterday.

Austin was FC Clacton's longest-serving first-spell manager, having been appointed in February 2018.

He guided the Seasiders to their highest finish in the last 15 years in 2018/19 when his side finished sixth in the Thurlow Nunn League premier division.

In a statement, Clacton chairman Stephen Andrews said: 'Firstly we want to thank Brightlingsea for doing things properly and as usual they continue to have our upmost respect.

'We also want to put on record our sincere thanks to Tom and Ryan for all they have done.

'Thanks to the efforts of these two great guys we are an established top half club in a strong step 5 League and they have done an amazing job on a restricted budget.

'We want to assure our supporters that we did all we could to keep Tom at the club.

'We have exciting plans that are delayed due to all that’s going on, but all being well the next couple of seasons should be an amazing time and we all wanted Tom there to lead us through it.

'We are therefore disappointed at the timing and while we would never stand in the way of anyone wishing to test themselves at a higher level, Tom walking away from what we have planned has come as a surprise.

'We wish them all the very best, but our focus will be on what we now need to do.

'We are ambitious but I passionately believe that stability, loyalty and building strong foundations are the key to building the lasting success that the club and our supporters deserve from our first team.

'This will not change and the search to find someone new to share that vision with us has begun.

'We will update everyone further as soon as we have news.'