New Hungerford Town boss Danny Robinson is excited about the challenge ahead
Robinson, 34, signed a contract with the Crusaders which brought an end to his five-year reign at neighbours Thatcham Town.
Hungerford are two divisions above Thatcham and having the opportunity to manage at a higher level is what made Robinson apply for the job, which became vacant when former manager Ian Herring stepped down.
“It’s something you just can’t turn down because it’s National League South football,” he said. “I am 34 years old – would an opportunity like this come around again? I don’t know.
“I could have stayed at Thatcham because I was very comfortable, but I wanted to test myself under different circumstances.
“When the opportunity came and I spoke to Mr Chambers [Hungerford chairman], something inside of me was saying that I had to do it.”
Herring departed Bulpit Lane at the end of last month and Robinson said: “When any manager leaves a club you always keep an eye out for what is going on, but when I first heard about Ian stepping down, I just thought about what a fantastic job he has done.
“I have been blessed and I really am thankful for Patrick giving me the opportunity to manage at this level.”
Andy Darnton, who was assistant to Robinson at Thatcham, has moved to Bulpit Lane too, as has first-team coach Keith Pennicott-Bowen.
Robinson said: “We won the FA Vase and the Hellenic League so we have a brilliant chemistry and it works really well.
“When you have a task like this it’s important that you surround yourself with as many good people as you can and I’ll be looking to them as much as I was when I was at Thatcham.”
Hungerford were bottom of the National League South before the football season was ended due to the coronavirus outbreak, so Robinson knows the challenge he faces next season.
He said: “They have the smallest budget and my eyes are firmly open as to what I am stepping into, but I want to be challenged and it’s the biggest one I’m facing as a manager to date.
“We are going to be competing against big sides with big budgets and stadiums with lots of supporters.
“I believe in my ability that, with the players we bring in and the players that will stay, we can cause a few upsets.”
During his time at Thatcham, Robinson guided them from 13th in the Hellenic to top of the Southern League Division 1 South.
He was also part of Kingfishers history in 2018 as they won the FA Vase when they beat Stockton Town 1-0 at Wembley Stadium.
He said: “As I was writing my resignation letter to Dave [Melin], I was getting emotional because Thatcham has been a massive part of my life and my family’s life as it’s where I live and it’s a place I love.
“They have been so wonderfully good to me and that made the decision so hard. Managers can move quite freely between clubs, but I am not like that.
“But I have been given an opportunity to manage in the National League South and be one league away from professional football so I couldn’t turn it down.”
Hungerford chairman Chambers admitted that it was a ‘no-brainer’ to offer Robinson the chance to manage the club.
When the Crusaders welcomed applications, around 19 managers enquired, but Chambers said that Robinson was a leading candidate.
“Out of all the applications we had it was a bit of a no-brainer,” said Chambers. “All of our supporters have been very happy with the announcement and even the Thatcham fans have wished him well.
“There is no pressure on Danny and all I have said to him is to keep us in the division and if he does, then it will be an incredible achievement.”
During his time with Thatcham, Robinson won the Hellenic League Premier Division and the FA Vase, so the winning mentality will no doubt help Hungerford.
Chambers said: “He made my shortlist very quickly and I was able to meet him and although I thought long and hard, he was the right fit for the club.
“It’s not about the money for him – he wants to test himself because he is aware that it’s a huge step up.
“He knows how tough it will be, but he’s not fazed by it all and I am happy because he wanted the challenge and I would’ve felt awful if I didn’t give him the opportunity.”