GARY Bailey has made a shock decision to step down as manager of Portland United.

The manager, who guided the club to the Wessex League Premier Division title this season as well as the Division One crown last term, announced his resignation after a meeting with the club this afternoon.

In a full statement given announcing his departure, Bailey said: “I have made the difficult decision to stand down from my position as first-team manager of Portland United FC.

“It was a decision not taken lightly but I feel I have taken the side as far as I can and, on the back of such a fantastic season, the time is right for me to step away.

“It's not very often in football you get the opportunity leave a position on a high note but after four years in charge we have been league champions three times and runners-up on the other occasion.

“Securing two promotions and to win the Wessex Premier League at the first time of asking back at that level was the pinnacle of my time as manager at the club.”

It continues: “Once the dust had settled after such an exciting climax to the season, I gave myself some thinking time and after much soul searching the decision to leave feels the right one.

“Juggling work commitments with football was becoming increasingly challenging and managing Portland is a job that requires 100 per cent commitment.

“Giving it less than that was never an option for me.“

Bailey added: “I know I will miss it but I've had a fantastic four seasons in the hot seat and would like to thank Robin Satherley as chairman and all of the committee for giving me the opportunity at the club and for their full support and hard work during my time in charge.

“Also all those who have worked with me in the backroom team have been as much a part of the success as I have and I thank them for that.

“Last but certainly not least the players who have played for me, especially those who have been there for the whole journey from the DPL (Dorset Premier League) to where we are now.

“They have been fantastic and have given me their all during my time as manager which is all I could have asked of them.

“I'm looking forward to a relaxing, stress free summer which is something I haven't had for as long as I can remember. Portland United will always remain close to me and their results will be the first one I look for when the season starts again.

“When I look back on how far the club has come during my time as manager it's something I'm very proud to have been part of and I wish everyone connected with the club continued success in taking the club forward.”