GARY Hackett has ended his 16-year spell as manager of Stourbridge.

The Glassboys saw their promotion hopes dashed yesterday with a 2-1 play-off semi-final defeat at Alvechurch.

That has led to Hackett leaving the helm after a long and memorable spell in charge at Alblecote.

Hackett, along with assistant Jon Ford initially, became manager of the Glassboys in May 2003 and guided the club to two promotions, five runs to and beyond the first round of the FA Cup, including victories over Plymouth Argyle and Northampton Town, three wins of the Worcestershire Senior Cup and the lifting of the Birmingham Senior Cup for the first time in 50 years in 2018.

He said: “The timing is right for me to move on. It’s been an incredible journey, but to stay now would be for selfish reasons.

“In my heart I have probably taken the club as far as I can in the circumstances, and I can leave now on my own terms.

“This isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to one result, but a considered decision in view of the events of the last week or so and in truth I need a fresh challenge. I’ll take a break from the game, but hopefully come back into it in the future with renewed energy.

“I would like to thank everybody for their help and support over the years in helping to create some amazing memories.

“Jon and I took over in difficult circumstances in 2003 with very few players remaining from the previous season and operating on a tight budget and we had to put together a competitive side quite quickly, so I take immense satisfaction from how far myself and others have been able to move the club forward, both on and off the pitch.

“It’s been tremendous to watch the club’s fanbase grow in numbers and galvanise in strength during my time in charge. I will always look back with pride on the day we had at Wycombe in the third round of the FA Cup and see the away end packed with supporters and I’ll never forget the backing we received that afternoon before, during and after the match.

“I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to my support staff and backroom team for their unyielding support and commitment through the good and not so good times.

“Without their full backing, dedication to me and the club and their valuable input during my time in charge, we wouldn’t have achieved half the things we have, and I am extremely grateful to them.

“I would also like to acknowledge the board of directors for their backing throughout. It’s been a pleasure, particularly, to work with Andy Pountney, the chairman, these past few years. The club will always remain in my heart, whatever the future holds for me and I wish it continued success because there are many terrific and hardworking people working behind the scenes for the good of the Club who I have come to know extremely well.”

Chairman Andy Pountney said: "I would like to pay tribute to Gary for everything he has done for the club and the journey he has taken us on during his time in charge.

“Emotions may have been running high after yesterday's disappointment, but I am sure Gary's sixteen-year spell in charge of the Glassboys will be remembered for so many wonderful reasons when we've all had time to reflect.

“It's the stuff of legends. He's rewritten the club's history and pathway with all the outstanding FA Cup runs. I also class Gary as a good friend and I am sure that will remain the case. I “ have enjoyed working with him and between us helping to drive the Club forward to the high level we now compete at.

"As to the future, we'll be making further comment in due course, but today is about Gary and the legacy he leaves."