NORTH Leigh have appointed their youngest-ever chairman.

Edward Martin, who is just 23, has been announced as the replacement for long-serving Pete King, who stepped down after 51 years service to the club.

His new role was ratified at the club’s annual meeting – and Martin, who was the club’s commercial manager last season, cannot wait to get going.

“I am honoured to have been elected as chairman of this fantastic club and I will continue to devote a lot of my time and efforts towards helping us make further progress,” he said.

“We’ve got a lovely little ground in the heart of the Eynsham Hall estate grounds, a very experienced management team and a plethora of skills and enthusiasm amongst our volunteers.

“But the support from our fans and local community really was the deciding factor.”

However, the new chairman, who only moved to west Oxfordshire a little over a year ago, is fully aware about the difficulty in taking over a role from somebody whose legacy will long live on.

“It will be very hard to follow in the footsteps of Pete King after his fantastic service to the club,” Martin said.

“It will be a big task to take the reigns after all the success he has delivered.

“We are competing at the highest level in the club’s history and despite a village population of only 2,000, we are going up against teams in major towns and cities with tenfold our annual budget.

“But despite this, we as a committee still believe there is huge potential for the club to further grow.

“I can’t wait for the challenges and hopefully successes that lie ahead.”

He added: “I understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we are looking to put plans in place to give this club a strong platform for the future and are confident of achieving our ambitious goals.”

King believes the focus on a more youthful man at the helm is vital to North Leigh’s sustainability.

“I was in no doubt Ed was an outstanding candidate for this role,” he said.

“It was the correct process to consider all options. But having done so, I was delighted to recommend to the rest of the committee that Ed be my successor.

“I was equally pleased to receive their unanimous support.”