Margate FC manager Jay Saunders has left the club to take up the role of first-team manager at National League South side Tonbridge Angels.
He received an approach from Tonbridge last week.
Saunders was appointed as caretaker manager of Margate in February 2019 after the departure of Steve Brown, before taking on the role permanently in May 2019.
His first two seasons in charge were cut short due to the Coronavirus pandemic, before securing an 8th place finish in the Isthmian Premier Division during the 2021/22 season, as well as leading the club to their first League Cup Final in 24 years.
CLUB STATEMENT – Jay Saunders
Jay Saunders leaves Hartsdown Park to take up 1st Team Manager role at Tonbridge Angels.
Thankyou for everything Jay, we wish you all the best for the future.
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— Margate FC (@margate_fc) May 9, 2022
Saunders said: “It has been a really tough decision to leave, but after losing two seasons through Covid, this was an opportunity to move up a level that I couldn’t refuse.
“Everyone knows what I think of Margate. I really enjoyed my playing days there and then my time managing the club, and I leave with a heavy heart.”
Saunders added: “I didn’t know Ricky (Owen) when I joined, but I have had a brilliant working relationship with him every day talking on the phone and just wanted to say that the club has been brilliant to me”
“Finally, I just wanted to say thank you to the fans who have supported me. I will be forever grateful for their support and I hope they continue to get behind the club like they did so brilliantly this season”.
Chairman Ricky Owen said: “I have a huge amount of respect for what Jay has done for this football club, not just over these past three years as manager but also as a player before that.
“He will be forever a huge part of this club and will always be welcome back at Hartsdown Park. I have had a brilliant working relationship with Jay and have thoroughly enjoyed working with him over the past three seasons.”
Margate FC has thanked Jay for his time, effort and passion towards the club over the past three years and wishes him well in the future.
The Club is reassuring fans that it is working tirelessly to appoint a successor.