JOHN Hill says he is staying on as Halesowen manager for two final games out of respect for the club – and admits he is dreaming of going out with a bang.

Hill’s six-year, 300-plus game reign came to an end with Thursday morning’s announcement that both he and assistant manager Matt Clarke had left The Grove by mutual consent.

However, Hill’s departure comes with an asterisk – he has agreed to remain in charge for Saturday’s FA Trophy trip to Spennymoor and Tuesday night’s league game at AFC Rushden and Diamonds.

And Hill says he would never have dreamed of leaving the club, especially president and former owner Colin Brookes, in the lurch ahead of such an important week.

He told the News: “With my love for Halesowen and the people there, no way would I just walk away and leave them in trouble, absolutely no chance.

“We can’t bring in anybody in for Saturday – unless you can find someone who isn’t cup-tied for the Trophy – and we are riddled with injuries and people missing.

“So taking the next two games wasn’t a difficult decision for me to make. I’ve had a few phone calls from people saying they can’t believe I’m doing it – but why?

“Halesowen have given me the opportunity to manage a great club and this is my chance to give a little something back.

“I owe everything to Colin Brookes and I would never do that man a disservice.”

Hill knows, however, that Halesowen have it all to do if they are going to give him a glorious send-off.

He added: “It’s a difficult task on Saturday – if Kettering, who are top of our league, went to Spennymoor, they would have trouble.

“Spennymoor are sitting fourth in the league above and we have to travel up there for four hours on a coach with a depleted squad.

“But one thing is for sure, this group will roll their sleeves up and give everything they have got.

“We don’t want to go out with a whimper. We want to go out all guns blazing but we will need everybody fit and available for these two games to stand a chance of doing that.

“If we could pull off a shock on Saturday and get a win on Tuesday, it would be unbelievable.”

Hill unsurprisingly classed the 2013-14 promotion-winning season – when Halesowen won the Northern League Division One South title – as the highlight of his time in charge.

But he admitted the time was right for a change after a thus far disappointing 2018-19 season, with the Yeltz sitting one point above the Southern Premier Central drop zone after just three wins in 14 league games.

Back-to-back league defeats to St Ives Town and Barwell this past week proved to be the final straw but Hill insists he will look back on his time at The Grove with immense pride.

Hill, who joined Halesowen from Tipton Town in the autumn of 2012 – added: “I’ve been there six years which is almost unheard of for a football manager at any level these days.

“I’m devastated to be leaving but it’s the right time for myself and the right time for Halesowen – it’s right for all parties – and I can hold my head up high.

“The club is in good hands and the next manager has a good foundation to build on – things are fantastic off the pitch and there is a solid base on the pitch.

“The highlight has to be the promotion season. When I took over the club was looking at Stourbridge and asking when would be the next time we would get to play them – and at the time it had to be in a friendly or cup competition.

“We had no right to win that league budget-wise – a lot of the players we brought in were local lads who had never even played at that level.

“And I guess another highlight was giving the supporters a team that could beat Stourbridge. It’s not all about Stourbridge – but it is for the supporters.

“That was enjoyable because it looked so far away when I first took over – the clubs looked l;ike they were going in opposite directions.”

While Hill takes charge of the next two games, Halesowen will be seeking his successor – and the departing boss says he would be happy to help with that search.

He added: “I’ve already spoken to [director] Keith McKenna and Colin [Brookes] about the type of manager I think they should bring in – and if the new manager wants my advice, then I am at the other end of a phone call.

“It won’t be an easy decision for the board because there will be a queue a mile long because of the direction that Halesowen, as a club, is heading in.

“You can talk about sleeping giants but with the people involved off the field now, the right person coming in could be sitting on something big.”

The club's statement is here