ALVECHURCH have named former Aston Villa and Walsall striker Darren Byfield as the club's new manager.

Byfield leaves Midland Football League Premier Division side Walsall Wood to take charge at Lye Meadow.

He led them to a second-place finish last season and only missed out on promotion due to an inferior goal difference to winners Ilkeston Town.

The former Redditch United and Stratford Town boss has now been given the chance to build on the work of previous manager Ian Long, who left Church at the end of the season to manage neighbours Stourbridge.

Alvechurch chairman Richard Thorndike said: "Darren was the obvious choice for us. His teams play football the way we want to watch it and he is the consummate professional.

"Trust me when I say this, Darren is destined for far bigger things and we’ll improve as a team and a club simply by having him around.

"An ex-pro with UEFA B, he’ll improve the younger players and also install a professionalism within the group. He is the perfect choice to carry on the great work of the former management team.

"Given the time of year, it’s vital that he gets to work quickly and his first job is to meet with the senior players and work out deals to keep the ones he wants with us.

"I want to go on record to say thank you to the Walsall Wood chairman, Justin Hodgin, who from the outset said he wouldn’t stand in Darren’s way if he looked to move higher up the pyramid."