It marks the end of a golden era at NWCFL First Division North side Prestwich Heys but after his eight remarkable years and 347 competitive games in charge at Adie Moran Park, Jon Lyons has stepped down as manager.
A statement from the club says, "When he took the reins in November 2011 as Player Manager, having previously served as a player in the Adie Moran era, Heys were bottom of the Manchester League Premier Division, with only five points to their name. Ten points adrift of safety with only fifteen games left it looked a big ask for Heys to stay up, but a remarkable upturn in form saw them clinch safety.
From his first game in charge Jon led from the front, scoring after only five minutes to set his side on the way to a 5-1 win at Manchester Gregorians. From there on it was onwards and upwards.
Thereafter, Heys improved year on year culminating in the treble winning 2015-16 season that saw Heys win the Manchester League Premier Division, Gilgrsyt Cup and the Bolton Hospital Cup on a memorable night at the Macron Stadium.
That season also saw Heys achieve their long-held dream of a return to the North West Counties League after a 23-year absence.
Heys have continued to progress, winning their first ever semi-professional trophy in lifting the North West Counties League Division One Cup, beating Cammell Laird 2-1 in the Final, in 2017.
The club also returned to the National stage, competing in the FA Vase and competing in the FA Cup after a 34-year absence, with their home tie with Radcliffe FC streamed live by the BBC.
It is not just on the pitch though that Jon made an impact. He has been actively involved in matters off the field too, whether it be in fund raising, working on the pitch, helping in ground development and repairs and could also be seen serving behind the bar.
Indeed, there is not a corner of the club that Jon has not touched.
Heys Chairman Neil Gilmore said “Jon’s record and achievements at the club are remarkable. He has worked tirelessly to improve the club on and off the pitch and created memories that everyone will forever treasure. We are sad and sorry he has decided to step down. What he has done over the last eight years is exceptional. It has been a brilliant period in the club’s history, and I speak for myself and on behalf of everyone at the club in saying a big thank you to Jon for everything he has done.”
We will issue a statement from Jon in due course.
Matt Barnes, who Jon brought in as Joint Manager in October, will take over the Managerial reins with immediate effect. "