AFTER 17 years in the hot seat, Manly United and Manly Warringah Football Association general manager Jeremy Toivonen has elected to pursue work interests away from Cromer Park.
Toivonen’s departure leaves a massive void, with the Canberra native a brilliant operator from day one on the peninsula after arriving in 2000.
He was an instrumental figure in the construction of the Lucas Neill Grandstand as well as Cromer 1 switching from grass to a synthetic surface.
The man affectionately known as “JT” was keen to thank the myriad of football people he has worked with for nearly two decades.
“It has been a privilege and honour to work for the (Manly Warringah Football) Association and Manly United over the past 17 years,” he said.
“Not many people will ever get such a chance and for that I am very grateful to all involved for the opportunity.”
“It was a very hard and personal decision for myself and my family and Ill greatly miss the football and people involved in the game on a day to day basis.”
“Hopefully I have left football on the beaches in a better place than when I started but it hasn’t been without the help of a very dedicated team on and off the park.”
Toivonen also paid tribute to the countless volunteers and office staff at Cromer Park, describing them as the “lifeblood of football locally.”
He has agreed to stay on until early July to aid with the transition phase.
His replacement is yet to be determined.
Long term MUFC president Keith Pester is sorry to see Toivonen moving on.
“Jeremy has been a boom to football in the area,” he said.
“He is the ultimate professional and we did our best to keep him.
“He feels at his age (43) it is time to chase other work opportunities, so we respect his decision.”
Pester’s counterpart, MWFA president Jeff Smit, also said Toivonen will be sorely missed.
“On behalf of the whole Manly Warringah Football Association, its 17 clubs and over 17,000 players, we wish Jeremy all the very best for his future adventures,” he said.
“Jeremy’s tireless work has enabled our Association to grow from 9000 players in 2000 to over 17,500 in 2017.
“His terrific management skills has allowed the Association to constantly grow and develop.”