ECCLESHILL United lost their head coach last weekend when Mark Tinker stepped down due to personal reasons but the vacancy was quickly filled when Gerard Jones was elevated from within.

Tinker’s assistant Martin Devaney followed his friend out of the club, insisting that they came as a pair and they should depart as a pair. So the club turned to under-18s and reserve team boss Jones.

There were some raised eyebrows, not just at the speed of the appointment but also the tender age of the new man. Jones is just 25 but the Eccleshill hierarchy have no doubts that what he lacks in terms of experience he more than makes up for in qualifications and attitude.

Eagles chairman of football Adrian Benson said: “I’m delighted and excited to have Gerard as our new head coach and know he will continue with the attractive football and the way we want to play.

“We asked him as soon as we knew Mark and Martin intended to leave. There wasn’t a minute’s hesitation and he accepted. The way he has worked through the various levels of qualification is simply incredible."

Jones has an impressive CV, having worked as a coach at Rochdale's Academy and also being a former director of coaching at Arsenal Soccer Schools. His qualifications include an Msc in perfomance coaching and he is awaiting assessment for his UEFA A license.

Benson added: “We know he is a young man and some people might look upon it as a gamble but we don’t see it that way. I think this appointment will one day be viewed as this club having the foresight and courage to do the right thing.

“I’m convinced that Gerard will do a fantastic job and it’s a natural progression. He will have a very good career in the game as he is very passionate about his football.

“He is very sure about his own ability, he is confident without being arrogant.”