Fans have wished Adie Mings well as he leaves Chippenham Town, saying the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division club will always remain close to his heart.

The 43-year-old, who represented the club at youth and senior level before a five-year stint as manager, brought his era at Hardenhuish Park to a close at last weekend’s home match with Hitchin Town.

PE teacher Mings, who moved upstairs to the director of football role in the summer, will swap the blue of Chippenham for that of Chelsea after he was headhunted for a regional scouting role as part of the European champions’ youth development programme.

Mings said: “The club will always be close to my heart and I’m leaving them in safe hands with the likes of John (Applegate, chairman), Nathan, Rich (Fey, assistant manager) and Neil (Blackmore, vice-chairman), who’s going to be taking over soon.

“I need to thank all of the players who worked with me, as well as the fans and everyone else associated with the club.

“Those fans have kept faith in me when we went through financial issues and other tough times.’’ Of his new role, he added: “Whenever you have a chance to develop your own skills and add another string to your bow, you’ve got to take that chance.

“There is a small sense of pride for me to be held in such high esteem and to be offered the role.’’ Wil Hulbert, Chippenham Town FC spokesman, said: “Adie’s going to be strongly missed in Chippenham.

“He’s a very popular character. He’s been around since he was 16, as he was on the youth team and then the first team as a player, before moving on to a higher level.

“He is very approachable, with a great sense of humour and he always makes time for people. We’re all going to miss him for his professionalism and insight, and we wish him all the best for his new role.”

Long-time fan Robin Foster echoed these sentiments. He said: “For Adie, it’s absolutely brilliant news.

“When Chelsea come knocking, it’s not something you turn down. As far as Chippenham is concerned, all the fans will be wishing him all the best.

“He has been a huge stalwart for the club over the years, and brought the best out of many young players. It’s the perfect job for him as it combines two of his passions – bringing these young people through and football itself.”

Chairman John Applegate added: “I first met Adie when he was assistant to Darren Perrin. He’s been good to me and the club. He has so much knowledge of local football and knows so many people and it’s going to be difficult to replace him.’’ Town’s manager Nathan Rudge saluted Mings, saying: “It only seemed like a matter of time before he went on to bigger and better things and even if you might not have expected it be such a huge move, he’s always had that aura about him. It’s absolutely brilliant.”

* See Gazette and Herald sport for Adie Ming's column.