CLIVE McNelly believes he can put Wokingham and Emmbrook FC back on the road to glory after being confirmed as their new first-team manager this week, writes Dave Wright.

He has been promoted from the reserves following joint managers Dan Bateman and Matt Eggleston decision to stand down.

But both intend to stay with the club and help out McNelly on match days.

“I have been with the club for a very long time and I would only have taken the job on if I knew Dan and Matt were going to be around in the background to support me,” said McNelly.

The change comes at a time when the Sumas are relegated back to the Hellenic League Division One East after just one season in the Premier Division.

Holders for the last four years, they were also knocked out of the Reading Senior Cup on Monday when they lost 2-1 at Binfield in their quarter-final in what was a repeat of last year's final at Madejski Stadium.

But McNelly insists: “Everything about the club is looking positive.”

He explained: “A lot of people are saying to us it is a step backwards going down and leaving the ground share with Henley and going back to Lowther Road.

“But I see it as one step back to go three steps forward with the (flood) lighting and everything else going on at the club. It is a great place to be at the moment.

“With the backing of Dan and Matt along with a great chairman like Graham (Tabor) and president Mark Ashwell we can move this club forward.”

Bateman and Eggleston, who had informed the club of their intentions six weeks ago, cite work and family commitments for their decision to give up the team's reins but they are not leaving the Hellenic League club.

“I am still going to be involved with the club,” said Bateman.

“I will help Clive out as much as I can. But for me, my family and job need to come first at the moment and it's the same for Matt.

“The second half of this season has been a real struggle. My job and family have really suffered because of it.

“So in the next year we are going to take a backward step a little bit, but we will both around to help Clive out as much as I can.

“I will support him from the sidelines and helping out when I can.”

Bateman added: “I have no intention of leaving the club. I have been with the club for 15 or 16 years. I am a one-club man and I'm not going to put another tracksuit on elsewhere.

“If things change, I could get more involved again later in the season, you never know.”

Last season, their second as joint managers, Bateman and Eggleston guided the Sumas to the Division One East title while also making a successful defence of the Reading Senior Cup.

“It was an unbelievable season; it could not have gone any better,” said Bateman.

“To be honest, even this year I have been proud of what we have achieved.

“This league is relentless. You have got to have a core of 16 or 17 players week in, week out, but our core of players available has often been seven or eight, so it has been a constant battle to get a full squad out week after week.

“I think a lot of managers in our position in the league would have walked away, but we were always determined we were going to see the season out and fulfil every fixture.”

Bateman and Eggleston confirmed their decisions to quit at Binfield on Monday night.

Dan said: “When telling the lads in there (dressing room) after the game I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. They know I love the club and that is why I will not be walking away, but I now need to step back a little for a period of time.”