Harleston Town have appointed Nicky Howell and Nathan Stone as joint managers after the club were unsuccessful in their appeal against relegation to the Anglian Combination Premier Division.

Diss Mercury: New Harleston Town joint boss Nicky Howell. Picture: ArchantNew Harleston Town joint boss Nicky Howell. Picture: Archant (Image: Archant)

The pair have replaced Leon Moore, who has left the club by mutual consent, after the FA upheld their decision to demote Harleston due to ground grading issues.

Harleston finished second to Swaffham Town in the Thurlow Nunn First Division North and had expected to be playing in the Premier Division next season.

However, the club were unable to make the improvements to their ground necessary to be promoted by the deadline set by the FA and have been relegated as a result.

Chairman Alan Mullin has turned to the experienced pairing of Howell and Stone to lead the club's comeback.

"We needed people that know how competitive the Anglian Combination league is and people that are tied to the town," said Mullin.

"We decided to look within the changing room, Nicky and Nathan were clearly the best candidates. They're real leaders and it's great to have them in charge."

Harleston's demotion has a knock-on effect for other clubs in the Anglian Combination structure.

Bungay Town (Division One), Loddon Town (Division Two), Long Stratton Reserves (Division Three) and Beccles Town Reserves (Division Four) will now not be promoted as a result and will be confirmed at the Anglian Combination AGM to be held on June 10.

Loddon issued a statement on Twitter confirming the news: "Unfortunately it's been confirmed we missed out on promotion due to Harleston unfortunately losing their appeal. Of course we are disappointed however finishing outside of the top two always runs the risk of not going up

"That being said we are excited about the preparations going on behind the scenes for the new season with a reshuffle of the management team roles, new reserve management set up and a host of youth players coming up from the u16s.

"Travis (Manning) and his team are working hard to put together a strong squad capable of automatic promotion and mounting another title challenge as well as looking to improve on last year's cup competitions with very ambitious targets being set from the off."