Forres Mechanics chairman David Macdonald has paid tribute to the job done by outgoing manager Charlie Rowley.
The Can-Cans boss will step down after 11 and a half years in charge following Saturday’s GPH Builders Merchants Highland League Cup first round tie against Turriff United at Mosset Park.
Rowley – who is the Breedon Highland League’s longest-serving manager – had previously indicated his intention to step aside in the summer of 2023.
But the man who has won the Highland League and North of Scotland Cup and also served Forres as a player and assistant manager has decided now is the right time to go.
Can-Cans chairman Macdonald said: “In a way it did come as a shock. He was genuinely looking towards the future of the club.
“We’re in a bit of rebuilding process at the moment with more youth in the team and I think Charlie felt it was best if someone new came in now to analyse the squad and take things on from the good work he has done.
“I’ve known Charlie a long time and over his 20 years as a player, coach and manager you can’t fault his integrity and his loyalty.
“He’s been a pleasure to work with over the years. I have got the highest respect for Charlie.
“He’s done a great job and his greatest achievement was winning the Highland League title in 2011-12.
“That was a big thing for both himself and the club to manage Forres to the league title.
“The season prior to that he won the North of Scotland Cup as well.”
Player loyalty has been important
Macdonald believes one of the keys to Rowley’s success has been the loyalty players have shown.
During his time at the helm, the likes of Neil Whyte, Ryan Green, Graeme Grant, Simon Allan, Scott Moore, Stuart Knight and Ross Macpherson all received testimonials.
In the current side, twins Lee and Graham Fraser are also set to be recognised for their long service.
Macdonald added: “The players past and present have been loyal to him as manager as well.
“That’s testament to Charlie that players have wanted to extend their contracts and continue playing for him and for Forres.
“I think it’s clear he has a good rapport with the players and the amount of testimonials we’ve had is testament to Charlie and the club in terms of the loyalty the players have shown.”
Can-Cans looking at options
Following Rowley’s decision to step down, Forres are now in the process or searching for his successor.
Macdonald hopes the Can-Cans will have an appointment finalised in the near future.
He said: “We’re actively looking for a new manager at the moment.
“Hopefully we might be able to announce something fairly soon, but we’re in the process of having talks.
“Once an appointment is in place, an announcement will be made, but at the moment we’re actively looking and having discussions.
“There are a number of options that can be considered so we’re exploring those options at the moment.”