HAY St Mary's have been rocked with the news that both the chairman and manager have stood down on the eve of the new football season.

Martin Tong and Gareth Jenkins have both resigned, with Gareth Ratcliffe and Paul Burke taking over the duties respectively.

Hay now ply their trade in Spar Mid-Wales League Division Two after the club opted for relegation following a number of player departures.

Tong has been involved with Hay for the past 30 years and has been instrumental with a lot of off-field work that has taken place at Forest Road during the last five years,

But he now feels the time is right to step aside and believes the future is bright at the club despite the recent turmoil.

"The main reason I'm stepping down is because it's become a full-time job and I've done a lot of jobs over the last five years," said Tong.

"The security fencing will be going up on September 1 and we have a new stand and dugouts.

"Plans have been also drawn up for a new clubhouse that will be pitchside and glass fronted.

"When I was playing, we used to pay £20 to rent the changing rooms and then went to the pub afterwards, now you've got to pay for three football pitches, some with floodlights, and hire changing rooms.

"All in all, everything costs thousands of pounds a year and was something that got a bit stressful.

"But have also been handed the singled biggest individual donation, so the future of the club is secure and it doesn't owe any money.

"However, we have probably lost the best Hay team we have had in the last 20 years.

"Most of those players came through the youth team but have now gone to teams like Wellington and Knighton.

"Because one went, they all went so it is frustrating that they jumped ship.

"But they are still in their eaerly 20s and I think they will be back one day because they have got some unfinished business.

"My son also plays for the first team so I will be watching him.

"We have put in place a new first team manager, who is enthusiastic.

"Paul has been a junior coach here so has come through the system, which I think is important.

"Gareth has stepped down, but will be mentoring Paul and helping him out for the first few weeks.

"Gareth was first team manager for three years and got the club promoted to Spar Division One and won numerous cups.

"When I sat down with Gareth, we said that we should be proud of what we have done in the last few years both on and off the pitch.

"Considering Hay is a town with a population of 1,400, we have four senior sides and 100 odd kids playing, so we're propbably the biggest club around here considering the size of the town.

Hay – who beat Takgarth Town 3-0 on Tuesday night to life the Gateway Cup – kick off their campaign with with an away game at Dyffryn Banw tomorrow.