Written by Graeme MacLeod September 21st 2022

Nairn County can today confirm that manager Ronnie Sharp and assistant Michael Rae have stood down from their positions at the club.

It brings to an end Ronnie’s second spell in charge at Station Park having returned to the Manager’s post in 2016, following his initial spell from 1999 to 2004.

In just over six years back at the club, Ronnie built a squad from scratch which has gone on to establish itself as a mid-table force in the Highland League and reached the Third Round of the Scottish Cup.

The club has appointed Conor Gethins as caretaker player / manager in the interim.

Ronnie said: “It has been a proud period of my life to be manager of my home town club for the last six years and I would like to thank the former Chairman, Donald Matheson and the Management Committee for giving me this opportunity.

“I would also like to thank all the players I have worked with for their efforts over the years, my Assistant Manager Michael Rae and all of the coaching staff who have worked alongside us at various points.

“Finally, I would like to thank the fans for all their support and wish everyone involved at the club all the best of luck for the future.”

Chairman Mark Kelman said: “I have only worked with Ronnie a short time but I have found him to be a thoroughly decent man and he is clearly a talented coach given his past achievements with the club.

“I would like to thank Ronnie for everything he has done for the club over a long number of years and the amazing amount of time, effort and commitment he has given to the role. People on the outside maybe do not realise just how much dedication Ronnie has given to the position and the number of sacrifices he has made to help us to be successful.

“We all wish Ronnie the very best for the future and he will certainly be more than welcome back at Station Park any time he wishes.”

Director of Football Graeme Macleod said: “Ronnie can leave the club with his head held high for all he has achieved with us in his six years back at the helm.

“He built up the squad from nothing and managed to keep our heads above the water before strengthening and evolving that pool of players into a team capable of taking points off any team in the Highland League on their day, which his results over the last few seasons proves. It is sad to see Ronnie go and it has been a pleasure for me to work so closely with him over the last six years.

“The players are all focussed on the job in hand with important fixtures coming up over the next few weeks and we will be doing all we can to support Conor in guiding us forward in the short term while we go through the process of appointing a new manager.”

Ronnie took over during the tumultuous summer of 2016 and inherited a squad which only had six signed First Team players just four days before the opening day of the season.

Despite that, he steered the team to a 13th place finish in the 18-team division before building on that by climbing to ninth the following campaign. The progress continued and culminated with a seventh place finish during the COVID-19 impacted 2019/20 season.

It was Ronnie’s second spell as manager, having guided the team to fifth in the table for the 2002/03 season having been appointed player / manager in 1999. This marked his third period at the club, having started out with us in the mid-1980s and playing for Clachnacuddin before returning to Station Park during the 1990s and then commencing his first spell as manager after a short period as player / coach at Nairn St Ninian.

Ronnie’s legendary status for his performances as player and manager at the club is secured and his efforts were recognised by the fans in 2014 when he was voted into our Team of the Century.

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