NAIRN County Football Club are delighted to confirm the appointment of Ronnie Sharp as the club's new manager.
The 50-year-old is currently part of the club's under-20s coaching team but takes up the manager's post immediately. He has agreed a one-year rolling contract.
Interim chairman Donald Matheson said: "I am thrilled that we can now announce that Ronnie Sharp has agreed to become the club's manager."
"It has been a process that has taken longer than I envisaged but we felt it was essential to appoint the right man for the job and not be pressured into bringing in the wrong person by time constraints."
"We have weighed up all of the options open to us and we feel that we have now found the best man to take Nairn County Football Club forward."
"Ronnie has always been in our thoughts since the vacancy came up. The indirect feedback we received was that he did not want to be considered, so he was not an option we initially pursued with any vigour."
"However, at a meeting of our Management Committee on Friday, his name came up again and it was agreed to approach him. Ronnie agreed to meet with us and we were all hugely impressed with his enthusiasm and passion for the club and everything he had to say about how he sees his team playing football and his plans for the future of Nairn County."
"We unanimously agreed that offering Ronnie the manager's position was the correct decision to take and I am delighted that he has now accepted our offer. I am looking forward to working with him."
"I would like the finish by thanking everyone who applied and showed an interest in the job. I wish you all well for your future in football."
Ronnie Sharp said: "This season is going to be a massive challenge for the club but I am looking forward to tackling it."
"I have previously said that I was not interested in returning to management but this is the only club I would have ever considered reversing that decision for."
"The call came a bit out of the blue on Friday night but the more I thought about it over the weekend, the more the challenge of building up the squad again appealed to me."
"I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the club's under-20s squad over the last few months and I know there are players there who will be ready to step up to the first team over the next few seasons. I look forward to continuing my involvement with their development and giving them their chance to make a mark at Highland League level when they are ready because that is the way the club has go."
"I had an encouraging discussion with the Management Committee on Friday evening and we are all in agreement that we have to build a club which appeals to the local community. One way we can achieve that is to produce a team that plays attractive, winning football. That is something I will do my utmost to work towards, so that we can send the fans home happy on a Saturday afternoon."
"I am looking forward to meeting with the players at training on Tuesday night and starting to work with them. They are a talented group and have achieved a lot over the last few years."
"I would finally like to thank the interim chairman, the Board of Directors and the Management Committee for this opportunity."
Sharp is already assured of legendary status among the club's fans from his time as a player. He thrilled the Station Park crowds over three spells, establishing himself as one of the most cultured midfielder's in the Highland League before stepping back to a sweeper role towards the tail end of his career. He was voted into the Nairn County Team of the Century by the club's supporters in 2014.
He featured sporadically for Nairn County as a youngster in the mid-1980s as two leg breaks hampered his progress and he left the club for the first time in 1991 when he joined Clachnacuddin. He returned to the club in 1995 via Nairn St Ninian and was made player / assistant manager under Jim Walker in 1997 but departed after one season to continue his playing career back at St Ninian.
His first spell as Nairn County manager started in February 1999 when he took the job on an initial caretaker basis before agreeing to become the club's permanent player / manager.
His last match as a player was a defeat at Fort William in 2002 and he then led the club to its highest finish since the 1976 championship success as a team including the likes of Michael Rae, David Macdonald, Gary Farquhar, Mark Holmes, Willie Barron, Iain Brooks and Scott Kellacher impressed observers from all quarters on their way to fifth place in the table.
He left the club again in 2004 after five years at the helm and took up the position as manager of Nairn St Ninian in the summer of 2005. In nine years at the Showfield, he won the Elginshire Cup twice and also earned two promotions.
Having stood down as Saints manager in 2014, he came back to Station Park to join Ally Munro in coaching the under-20s side in November and he has now agreed to begin a second stint as the club's manager.
His first match in charge is a pre-season friendly against Nairn St Ninian at Station Park on Thursday July 21st. Kick-off is at 7.30 pm.