Brian Suckling believes it is time for fresh blood after announcing he is stepping down after 15 years as chairman of Crawley Down Gatwick.

During his time at the helm, Suckling has overseen a remarkable rise for the club from County League division three to the Ryman league, although it ended in relegation last season.

The Anvils also reached the Sussex Senior Cup final for the first time in their history in 2012, losing 2-1 to Whitehawk at the Amex.

Perhaps his biggest achievement is helping the club attain the facilities which enabled them to play in Ryman south for three seasons.

The Anvils plummeted from top spot in September to finish second bottom last season and have since appointed Tim Penlington as manager with a brief to attract talent from the local area rather than further afield.

Suckling said: “I have been with Crawley Down going back to my playing days in the late 1960s and got back involved when my son was playing for the junior section.

“That was after my stint as Three Bridges chairman. I took on the role as chairman 15 years ago. We had just got out of division three and got promotion from division two but couldn’t go up due to facilities. In the first few years I spent more time at Mid Sussex District Council than in my own committee room trying to force an upgrade in facilities which we eventually achieved. That is the legacy I leave.

“I feel the time is right to step aside. There are a lot of people in and around the club that missed the local player type involvement once we got into the Ryman League. For that to be re-established and for the club to move forward it was time for a new leader.

“Hopefully I will have a say on who comes into the chair and I will do my level best to make sure the person has the right background and right approach to take on a senior club in good shape.”

Suckling will retain a link with the share ownership of the club but intends to step aside completely from the running of the club along with his wife, club treasurer Jane.