Ian Herring announced last Wednesday that he was retiring from football after an 18 year playing career.
The Hungerford Town boss will remain in charge of the Vanaram National League South side as he looks to steer the Crusaders away from the relegation zone.
The tough tackling passionate midfielder started his career at football league side Swindon Town in 2001 but made only six appearances for the club.
In search of regular first team football he moved just down the road to fellow Wiltshire side Chippenham Town in 2004 but was on the move once again just three years later to Salisbury City to pursue full time football.
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Released in 2009 he went on to have spells with Northwich Victoria and Forest Green Rovers. His performances for Forest Green caught the eye of Swindon manager Danny Wilson who wanted him to return to the Robins in 2011.
Instead, after a successful loan he moved to Eastleigh but then straight back on loan to former club Chippenham. Herring left the Spitfires at the end of the 2011/12 campaign to start a journey at Berkshire side Hungerford town which is still being embarked on today.
Herring was a midfielder who could also play centre back and helped the Crusaders on a remarkable rise that saw them promoted to the Vanarama National League South, the highest division the club has ever played at. In their first season in the competition the club finished in the playoff places only to be denied entry due to shortage of seats in the ground.
Herring hasn’t scored many goals for the club but he did score a spectacular late volley against Welling in November 2016 which is up there as one of the best goals he’s scored for Hungerford.
However last season saw playing time restricted as he took up the role of player/manager alongside fellow player Jon Boardman. Tasked with financial restrictions and carrying on the mantel of former boss Bobby Wilkinson it was a tough second half of the 2017/18 season.
Having to win at East Thurrock to stay up on the final day Herring achieved just that with a 1-0 win becoming a Hungerford legend in the process and a firm fan favourite.
This season has also been challenging but a young energetic squad has grown throughout the process playing an exciting brand of football.
Herring started off the season playing regularly as Kevin Watson took charge from the dugout but since November the youngsters took charge on the pitch allowing Herring to take a back seat on the pitch and a more important role off it.
He know knows what this squad can achieve after the 5-0 thumping of St Albans at the weekend which means his side sit three points clear of the relegation zone but the manager will be demanding high work rate and performance till the end of the April.
He has still plenty to learn in the managerial game but he’s making a good start. With one of the best CV’s around in non-league football the challenge to keep Hungerford thriving in the National League South is only just beginning. Shadows of the past have gone and a new one is appearing.
Main image: Ian Herring by Phil Cannings.