Kevin Lucas admitted that it had been a real wrench for him to leave Enfield (1893) after he quit his job as manager of the Essex Senior League outfit to take charge of perennial Ryman League Division One North strugglers Ilford.
Lucas had been in charge of Enfield (1893) since the club was formed in 2007 after Enfield FC, where he had also been manager for the previous year, went into liquidation.
After several agonising near misses, he led them to the Essex League title in 2011 – only for the club to be denied promotion to the Ryman League on a technicality when their Goldsdown Road home failed its ground grading inspection.
The Es were again well placed to challenge for the title midway through last season, but a dreadful injury crisis saw them fade away badly in the second half of the campaign – and Lucas has now decided that the time is right for him to move on.
“It was a real wrench to leave,” he said. “I just felt that the time was right for a new challenge, and it’s an opportunity for me to move up to the Ryman League.
“Ilford is a club which has not really done anything over the last six years and has always been fighting against relegation.
“Everyone thinks they are going to be down near the bottom again, so there isn’t really that much pressure, but I’m just looking for the lads to show some pride and see if they can move up the table a bit.
“I can understand that me leaving has come as a bit of a bolt out the blue, and I hope I haven’t let anyone down over the years. There is a really good bunch of people there and maybe freshening things up a bit and getting a new face in is what they need as well – it might ignite them.”
Lucas admits that he will look back on his time at Enfield (1893) with great fondness and feels proud of what he achieved in his time at the club.
“I’ve got some great memories of my time at the football club,” he said. “I’m part of their history now and I’m proud of that.
“Winning the league last year was without a doubt the highlight. We’d come so close so many times before, just losing out on goal difference to Concord one time, and when we finally got there it was more of a sense of relief.
“It was a great feeling, and then it was heartbreaking to have it taken away from us when we missed out on promotion on a technicality.
“I don’t really count the second half of last season because of the unprecedented injuries, and apart from that the lowest we finished was fourth. I think there is a lot to be proud of in what we’ve achieved over the years.”