AIRBUS UK Broughton FC has announced the permanent appointment of Andy Thomas as the club's first team manager.

Thomas has been in charge of first team affairs at the Hollingsworth Group Stadium since the departure of director of football Andy Preece in August.

Assisting Thomas will be academy director Lee Starkey. Andy and Lee have been key members of the club for many years as player/coach and have been instrumental in the club's development of youthful players.  

Gareth Richards will continue to support the team as the first team coach.

Chester-born Thomas is a former Airbus player who has been a part of the coaching set-up since 2007 and acted as Preece's assistant from July 2015.

A right-sided player, Thomas began his career as a trainee with Wrexham and played in the European Cup Winners' Cup in season 1995/96 against FC Petrolul Ploiesti.

He turned professional in August 1996 but failed to make any further first team appearances and was released in 1997.

He went on to enjpy a long Welsh Premier career, first joining Connah's Quay Nomads before moving to Cwmbran Town in the 1999/2000 season, but played just twice before returning to the Nomads. 

In 2001 he joined Newtown, moving to Airbus and, at the end of his first season, won the Cymru Alliance and with it promotion to the WPL.

Thomas made a total of 152 (+30) league appearances, scoring five goals.