All change at Arlesey Town as chairman John Morrell is replaced by former Premier League striker

Dave Kitson (left) battles with Sunderland's Michael Chopra while playing for Reading in 2007

Dave Kitson (left) battles with Sunderland's Michael Chopra while playing for Reading in 2007. - Credit: MARTIN RICKETT/PA

There is a new hand at the tiller of Arlesey Town after chairman John Morrell resigned with immediate effect.

Former Reading and Stoke City striker Dave Kitson, who also started and finished his career with Arlesey, steps in on an "interim initial basis".

Dave Kitson celebrates scoring for Stoke City

Dave Kitson celebrates scoring for Stoke City in a Premier League match at Bolton Wanderers in September 2009. - Credit: DAVE THOMPSON/PA

The departure of Morrell was announced "with regret" on Sunday evening.

A statement from the club said: "It is with regret that Arlesey Town Football Club announce the resignation of its chairman John Morrell with immediate effect. 

Outgoing Arlesey Town chairman John Morrell.

Outgoing Arlesey Town chairman John Morrell. - Credit: ARLESEY TOWN FC

"John stands down after five years at the club. He took over in May 2016 and helped steer the club through a period of financial difficulties and restraint.

"More recently John has helped oversee a transition period at the club leading to stability on and off the pitch.

"Everyone at the club wishes to thank John for his time, effort and help throughout his tenure at the club and we wish him and his wife Christine all the very best for the future."

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They also said the committee wanted a prompt replacement and said Hitchin-born Kitson "was a clear candidate and someone they felt the members would be glad to see back at the club".

Kitson first played for the Blues during the 2000-01 Isthmian League Division Three championship-winning season before signing for Cambridge United the following season.

He also played for Middlesbrough, Sheffield United, Oxford United and Portsmouth, in a career that saw him score 145 goals in 472 games, and made a brief return to Arlesey in 2014 as player-assistant manager under Nick Ironton.

Dave Kitson in action for Arlesey Town

Dave Kitson in action for Arlesey Town. - Credit: HARRY HUBBARD

The 41-year-old said: "I would like to thank the committee for offering me the opportunity to take on the role as interim chairman.

"I would also like to thank John Morrell for the sterling work he has done as chairman to lead the club to this point.

"Arlesey has always had a place in my heart and I made numerous lifelong friends during my time here.

"This is an exciting period for everyone involved and I look forward to contributing to the start of the next chapter in the club's history."

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