Boss who replaced Wenger as longest-serving manager in English football quits

He replaced Arsene Wenger as the longest-serving manager in English football, but Neil Cugley has finally called time on his 26-year stint as boss of Folkestone Invicta.

Appointed in the summer of 1997, Cugley has seen off six World Cups, seven Prime Ministers and an incredible 17 Chelsea managers during his tenure at Folkestone.

But the 65-year-old has decided that now is the right time to bring the curtain down as manager of the Isthmian League Premier Division side, giving up his title as the longest-serving boss in the English game.

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Cugley announced the news in a statement on Folkestone's website. It read: "As people may have heard this is to be my final season as Manager of Folkestone Invicta Football Club (FIFC) and following discussions on Monday afternoon with Micheal Everitt and Roland Edge I am pleased to say they have agreed to accept the responsibilities of running the first team from this weekend till the end of the season.

"I hope that everyone will support them as they have been loyal employees at our club for a long time and deserve all of our support."

He added: "I have always had good, loyal and friendly staff/players/Directors/Chairman’s around me and that has made my years at FIFC so enjoyable. I also thank the supporters past and present, through the good times and bad for their loyal support. Myself and Pauline will always support this club and all the memories and sometimes heartache it has given us."

Tributes soon came pouring in for Cugley from across the non-league scene. One person wrote: "Legend is a word that gets thrown around lightly, but it's entirely apt here. Thanks Neil, for everything you have done for our club."

How long has the manager been in charge at the club you support? Let us know in the comments section below.

Someone else said: "A more dedicated man to this football club you could not find anywhere. I’ve watched first hand the untold hours and effort this man puts into the club and some of the nonsense he has to deal with. A legend in every sense of the word."

While a third user gushed: "What a top man and a great manager that stood the test of time. Was always very good to me. Wish him all the best."

Cugley, who led Folkestone to the Isthmian League Division One title in 2016, steps down from the role with the Cheriton Road outfit 16th in the Isthmian Premier. Micheal Everitt and Roland Edge will take charge of the side until the end of the season.

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