A FORMER Champions League assistant manager has been appointed the new boss at Banbury United.

The Puritans, who were relegated from Vanarama National League North this season, have hired Simon Hollyhead as their new manager.

Hollyhead is a UEFA Pro Licence holder and has previously worked as the assistant manager at Swedish outfit Malmo.

The Puritans said in a statement that Hollyhead has turned down opportunities in the Football League.

READ ALSO: Greg Leigh proud of individual and team contribution as U’s get to Wembley

He was the assistant to former Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City boss Roland Nilsson at Malmo, between 2010 and 2014.

Hollyhead was then assistant manager at SK Brann in Norway, and Odense in Denmark, in addition to a spell as assistant at Stevenage.

Hollyhead, a member of the League Managers Association, will lead the Puritans in conjunction with his role as Northampton Academy’s head of elite sports.

He told the Puritans website: “I have been in and around all levels of the UK football pyramid since returning to the UK in 2021, including some consultancy to Step 2 and Step 3 teams.

“I decided to prioritise my family at weekends after they dutifully followed me around Scandinavia for seven years.

“I have been approached for a return to management on several occasions, but the right project has never quite reared its head. When I saw the vacancy at Banbury United, I thought ‘this is it’. I have thought of nothing else for three weeks.

thisisoxfordshire:

“My enthusiasm is heavily based on feedback from the due diligence I’ve conducted on Banbury United, having spoken with various contacts, including ex-players of the club.

“I also watched the last home game and was very impressed with the club’s heritage and community feel.

“Work has started with player recruitment. I am looking forward to getting the right character of player in and taking the team on a journey to a goal of Banbury United playing at its highest ever level in 2031, its centenary year.” 

Puritans chairman Wayne Farrell added: “The quality of candidates for this role was absolutely outstanding. Along with his top-level football management credentials and incredibly deep knowledge and experience, Simon presented an exceedingly thorough multi-year plan for Banbury United.

“He unanimously impressed the recruitment panel with his team and player connections that are relevant to this level, his strategy for recruitment and player management, and match strategy.

“It's hard not to say how lucky we feel attracting a manager of Simon’s calibre. Our 2024/25 season signings have got off to a great start.”

The Puritans said that further announcements regarding Hollyhead’s management team and playing squad will be made in due course.