One of the more significant changes at Eastbourne Borough this summer will go by largely unnoticed.

The Blue Square premier new boys have bolstered their squad with four decent signings.

Off the field former Chelsea managing director Colin Hutchinson has joined the club in an advisory role Amid all that chief coach Nick Greenwood's conversion from part to full-time status has not attracted much attention but fans should not under-estimate its importance.

Long-serving Greenwood provides the link on and off the pitch and being able to donate a lot more time to his duties will make the club's move to the top tier of non-league football a lot smoother.

Whether Garry Wilson could have continued as manager without Greenwood becoming full-time is something only he could answer.

Borough will be only one a few clubs in Blue Square premier this season who are not full-time and most of those who have remained part-time, including neighbours Lewes, at least have a full-time manager.

Wilson is an engineering manager by day so his trusty sidekick has given up his job in the fire service.

Greenwood, who turns 50 in a fortnight, has been a fundamental part of Borough's meteoric rise from County League to Blue Square premier since joining the club from Hassocks in 1997.

He said: "This will enable me to take the pressure off Garry. I will be fielding calls, freeing him up from the responsibility of that so he can get on with doing his job during the day.

"I will be putting on extra training sessions for the players when we can because a lot of them have unusual shift patterns. It will also be an opportunity to watch more matches in the professional game that are going on during the week that we should have some sort of attendance at. Garry is the manager and I am the coach but we are a pair and we share the responsibilities jointly.

"As you move up the leagues there are more responsibilities, more things to do. It was bad enough last year when a lot of the managers in Conference south were full-time.

"The whole thing is to do with gearing ourselves up to be more professional and giving ourselves the best possible chance of staying in Conference national.

"I have done 30 years in the fire service. I had an opportunity to stay on and take promotion but basically I couldn't do both. I couldn't take extra responsibilities with the fire service and extra responsibilities of coaching a Conference national side.

"On the night of our play-off win against Hampton I knew I had reached a situation where a decision had to be made but it was something Garry and I had talked about for a while."

Although Greenwood will not go full-time until the start of August, he and Wilson have been working hard all summer trying to get Borough as prepared as they can be for the challenge ahead.

One thing they did was have a meeting with the management team at Salisbury, whose players remained part-time after promotion to the Blue Square premier and enjoyed a superb season last year.

Greenwood said: "Everybody looks to us as a role model but we take advice from others. We have spent a lot of time with our counterparts at Salisbury, Tommy Widdrington and Nick Holmes. We have talked to them and they have told us the pitfalls, things they did well and things they didn't do so well. They are both full-time themselves and they have given us pointers.

"The club have a plan that we have to stay part-time but if we manage to stay in the Conference national next year we will look at the next stage, having some players full-time and some part-time. Ultimately if we stay in that division with part-time players we will be relegated in the end.

"Me doing this is the first step towards that. That has always been the secret of our success at Eastbourne, continually looking at ways to do things better."

Greenwood, who will be assisted in the coaching department by Simon Colbran and Dean Lightwood, initially joined Borough as coach to Steve Richardson and, after a spell in caretaker charge, stayed on when Wilson was appointed in February 1999.

He said: "I worked with Garry in the County League and now we are in exactly the same positions in the Conference national. It has been a great journey and we are really looking forward to the next step."

>How do you rate Nick Greenwood's contribution to Borough's progress?