Hemel Town have been left without a permanent boss after long-standing manager Dean Brennan quit the club last week to join the big-spending and oft-controversial Billericay Town.
Irishman Brennan, who had been in charge at Vauxhall Road since 2012 and last season reached his 500-game management milestone at the club, is also taking his assistant manager Stuart Maynard with him to the fellow National League South side.
Billericay, who are in second place and 13 places higher in the table than Hemel, made headlines earlier in the season when their previous boss Harry Wheeler was reportedly sacked – via text – by maverick owner Glenn Tamplin with a match still ongoing.
Hemel have put skipper Jordan Parkes and veteran defender Darren Ward in interim charge of the side.
The Gazette understands that Tudors chairman Dave Boggins has also received more than 50 applications for the vacant role.
In a statement released on the Tudors’ Twitter account, the club said: “Dean Brennan and Stuart Maynard have resigned from their positions as manager and assistant manager of Hemel Town to take up those posts at Billericay Town.
“Dean and Stuart led Hemel to the Southern League title and last season achieved the club’s highest-ever league position, qualifying for the National League South playoffs.
“Dean and Stuart leave with the very best wishes and thanks of the officials of Hemel Town.”
Under Brennan, Hemel started this term with two wins and were undefeated in their first four matches but then went on a seven-game winless run.
Meanwhile, managerless Hemel breezed into the third qualifying round of the FA Cup without breaking much of a sweat in a very wet Essex on Saturday, writes Steve Rundle.
The Tudors triumphed 6-1 at Bowers & Pitsea of the Isthmian League North - two leagues below Hemel - to set-up a home clash with the Bostik South-East Division outfit Ramsgate in the third qualifying round next Saturday, October 6.
Caretaker duo Parkes and Ward both started the game on the bench.
Hemel went in front after 10 minutes when a good move sent Herschel Sanchez Watt through and he fired low to make it 1-0.
Just on the half-hour, Phil Roberts made it 2-0 with the goal of the game when he was unleashed a lovely first-time shot from the edge of the box which flew into the top corner.
Shortly before the break Spencer McCall whipped in a cross for Watt to fire home from close range for 3-0 and the Tudors were cruising.
Straight after half-time, a great one-two between Watt and substitute Karl Olliyide resulted in the latter sliding it past the keeper for goal number four.
Hemel were awarded a soft-ish penalty just before the hour which Steve Cawley dispatched to make it 5-0.
The Tudors were given another spot-kick with about ten minutes to go after Olliyide went down after next to no contact. Watt duly tucked it away to complete his hat-trick.
Battling Pitsea were given their own penalty near the end which was slotted home by David Knight for 6-1.
It’s back to league action this Saturday when Hemel host 17th-placed Oxford City.