HEYBRIDGE Swifts chairman Gary White has hailed Jody Brown after he resigned as manager last night.

Brown stepped down as Swifts boss after the 2-1 defeat to Basildon United.

And White believes Brown, who led Heybridge to the Bostik North play-offs and prolonged FA Cup and FA Trophy runs last term, deserves a lot of credit after moving into management at a young age.

White said: “Jody gained so much from working full-time as a coach for professional clubs like Arsenal, Norwich City and Colchester United before stepping into management at non-league at only 26 years of age.

“He now has 13 years of managerial experience under his belt, probably around 700 matches at least, which is amazing for a manager who is not yet even 40 years old.

“The 2017/18 season was an amazing experience for us as a club, with us reaching the FA Cup first round and also the FA Trophy fourth round while being the lowest ranked club in both competitions in the same season.

“That was a remarkable achievement and we even managed to get to the play-offs having missed out on promotion by only three points after an amazing run when we had so many matches in hand, 14 at one point in January!

“Those memories for me surpass anything I have seen in football and I will always be grateful to Jody and his coaching staff and players for an experience that is unlikely to be repeated by Swifts, or any other club at our level.

“We now have to look forward and build on the lasting legacy Jody has created, to make sure we get back to where we know we should be after a difficult start to the current campaign.

“Jody will live on in the memory of Swifts fans as a club legend and we are very grateful to him for his achievements and transformation at our club over a three-year period.

“I have always found working with him a great pleasure and from the first time I met him and ended up sitting in my local pub talking football for four hours non-stop, I knew he would be someone I could work with.”

The club released a statement following the news of Brown’s resignation.

The statement read: “Heybridge Swifts would like to go on record in thanking Jody Brown for his superb work with our club over the past three years since returning to the club in October 2015 when we were at a low ebb.

“Jody has transformed us from where we were then to the number one ranked club at step four of non-league following last season’s heroics, with limited financial resources.

“What he achieved, in building those foundations for the club, will benefit us for years to come and has galvanised the community at the club, with so many junior players on Sundays becoming fans and increasing our gates significantly, both home and away.

“The work and commitment Jody has put in has inevitably taken its toll and with a young family and a business to run, something had to give, and he needs time to take stock of the situation and re-charge his batteries before considering his next move in the game.

“Jody has built a tremendous amount of knowledge, experience and contacts within the game and has been instrumental in developing the careers of many young players who have progressed much further up the pyramid and the professional game following his leadership and coaching ability.”

Swifts have lost four of their first six Bostik North fixtures this term and White confirmed the club has started the process to find Brown’s successor.