Friday, 13 January 2012

Ritch Reward

AFC Totton manager Stuart Ritchie has signed a new 2 and a half year deal with the club to remain as manager until at least the end of the 2013/14 season.

The news comes after weeks of local media reports that Ritchie was close to agreeing a new contract. The former Aston Villa and Crewe Alexandra midfielder has been in charge at Totton since 2004 and the new contract will take him up to a decade at the helm.

There has been recent speculation that Ritchie was being looked at by clubs in higher divisions as he spoke of his desire to achieve bigger things.

Back in December Ritchie told the Southern Daily Echo: "I'm ambitious to go higher and I've proved my credibility as a manager. The idea of talking to the club is to see what they're thinking, weigh up my options and take it from there."

There was never any suggestion that Ritchie was looking to leave Totton after seven success-filled seasons, but with his contract due to expire at the end of the current season, he wanted assurances that the club's ambitions matched his own.

Under the management of Ritchie and his assistant Sean New, Totton have improved their league position every single season since the pair took over back in 2004. From mid-table obscurity in the Wessex League, Totton have risen to the dizzy heights of 2nd in the Southern Premier League ahead of this weekend's top-of-the-table clash against current league leaders Brackley Town.

As well as the incredible rise up through the leagues, including 2 promotions, Ritchie's tenure has also seen the club win the Hampshire Senior Cup twice, play in the FA Vase final in front of a crowd of over 32,000 at the New Wembley Stadium, reach the 2nd round of the FA Cup having never even qualified for the first round before, play against a league side for the first time and play in a live televised game for the first time.

Here's to more success in the not-too-distant future for Totton and Stuart!

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