PONELAND United have been left shocked after first team manager Liam McIvor announced his decision to leave the club.

Mclvor had guided the Northern Alliance Premier Division side to eighth place in the league table before the season was curtailed earlier this week, but has decided to move on to manage fellow Premier Division side Newcastle Blue Star alongside former Sunderland U18 boss Paul Bryson.

The news means Mclvor’s assistant Liam Bell will now take charge of the club going forward, beginning with the rejigged Divisional cup competition in April when the club returns to action.

A statement from the club said: "Ponteland United was stunned last week and disappointed that first team manager, Liam McIvor, had decided to leave the club and accept an offer to manage highly ambitious Newcastle Blue Star.

"Despite the untimely setback and disappointment Liam departs with our grateful thanks for his commitment and long association with the club and wish him well.

"He leaves behind an excellent squad of players and with assistant manager, Liam Bell, keen to continue the team is left in very capable hands."

McIvor was a popular figure at United and helped keep hold of some of the first team's key players as they enjoyed playing in the Alliance's top flight.

Newcastle Blue Star ended the shortened season two positions below Ponteland in 10th, with Mclvor having led his former side to victory against the Star back in early December with a 1-2 away win.

Last summer the Newcastle based team appointed former Magpies player and ex-manager of Birmingham City Lee Clark as their Director of Football.

McIvor will resume hostilities with Wallington soon enough too as Newcastle Blue Star were drawn alongside the Greens, Winlaton Vulcans and Shankhouse in the divisional group.