Gavin Arthur has stunned PSNI officials by quitting the club just days after he secured promotion.
Arthur guided the south Belfast club to the second promotion slot in the Belfast Telegraph Championship Two, scoring over 80 goals in the process.
But Arthur has decided to leave the Newforge club for the vacant managerial post at Crusaders Reserves. Arthur is a lifelong fan of the Hatchetmen and had two separate spells at Seaview as a player. Jamesie Kirk will replace Arthur at the PSNI.
Gavin Arthur explained: “I've left the PSNI for the only club I would have ever left them for.
“It was a big decision to make, particularly after winning promotion, but Crusaders are my club. I played for them for years, I live beside the ground and my family have season tickets. I'm happy with my decision.
“I explained it to the players at training during the week and I think they were surprised, but I like to think they understood. My old assistant Jamesie Kirk will fill the vacancy. I've no doubt he will do a good job.”
Despite his decision to quit, Arthur is confident that the PSNI will perform in Championship One, where they will come up against the might of clubs like Ards, Bangor and Carrick Rangers.
“It is disappointing that I won't be there to manage the boys in Championship One, but I'm sure they will do well without me. They play football and when you play football, you've always got a chance.
“If you look at the teams that have been promoted in the last three or four years, they're all still there. Ballyclare and Knockbreda were fantastic last season and Warrenpoint Town and Dundela have both competed at the top of the table since their promotion.
“I don't see any reason why the PSNI can't do well at that level under Jamesie.”
At the start of the season few would have predicted that the PSNI would have claimed promotion, but under the guidance of Arthur and Kirk, the Police side proved themselves to be one of the best sides in the league.
Arthur said: “This year I took great satisfaction in winning promotion with the PSNI. Next year my aim will be to be produce young players for Crusaders' first team. If I can do that then I will be just as satisfied.
“When I took over at the PSNI we only had nine players and we had problems getting players off work for training and matches.
“In my first season there I took them to a mid-table finish, and this year we won promotion. I'm proud of what we achieved together, but I'm looking forward to a new challenge at Seaview.”
The PSNI's promotion hopes received a boost last month when they were gifted three points, after it was discovered that Moyola Park fielded an ineligible player in their win over the Police at Castledawson earlier in the season.
The player in question played five times before NIFL released he was not registered. The discrepancy was only flagged up when the player was booked.
NIFL were criticised by some Championship Two clubs for not spotting the error earlier, but in a statement they explained that responsibility of registration lies with the club.
“As per Rule 30 for the NIFL Championship, any club playing an ineligible player may be fined up to £250 and their opponents awarded three points and a 3-0 win for each match involving that player.
“The clubs accept that it is ultimately their responsibility to ensure that their players are eligible to play.”