CHIPPENHAM Town chairman Neil Blackmore revealed he has received five phone calls from coaches interested in the vacant first-team manager role at Hardenhuish Park.

On Thursday night, Bluebirds confirmed on social media that Mark Collier had been sacked by the club – six years and two months after he was appointed.

During his time at Hardenhuish Park, Collier turned Town’s Southern League Premier Division fortunes around and established the club in National League South.

In four seasons, the club progressed from being threatened by relegation to winning non-league’s third tier with a whopping 103 points secured from 46 games in 2016-17.

A pair of 13th placed finishes followed, though this year the club finds itself 18th – a point clear of the relegation frame – with 17 fixtures remaining.

Chairman Neil Blackmore told BBC Wiltshire the board’s decision was made at the right time, and he also thanked Collier and his partner Mandy for their dedication towards the club.

He added: “Our football club is a business, it has to be run like a business. And any business has to constantly evolve and develop, for a football club that is both on and off the pitch.

“Developments on the pitch start with a change of management. And we’ve already said off the pitch we’re going to spend close to £200,000 on ground improvements to make fans’ visit to the ground that more enjoyable.

“But what is more important to the fans is that they are entertained. And if you speak to any fan, they will tell you they like to see their team playing good football, scoring goals and winning games.

“It was a difficult decision. Mark Collier is a really good guy and has done a lot of great work for the club, even his partner worked at the club as a volunteer.

“I’d like to thank both Mark and Mandy for all their hard work.

“I know there will be a lot of speculation.

“But I promise fans the decisions we make are always in the best interest of the football club.”

When asked by the BBC’s Marie Indge if he was concerned about relegation this season, Blackmore said the club isn’t where he expected it to be at this moment in time.

He also confirmed interim manager Gary Horgan will be replaced by a new manager who can plan and build an appropriate pre-season training schedule ahead of the 2020-21 season.

“We are not where we would like to be, but there is a way to go yet,” said Blackmore.

“Part of the reason for making the decision now is it allows us to look for someone before the end of the season. If we did it at the end of the season, it is always a lot harder.

“The person that comes in will have time to evaluate the squad and put together a package of pre-season training.”