REDDITCH United have praised the "hard work and dedication" of former manager Matt Clarke after drugs charges against him were dropped.

The club said that the "ordeal" had a "clear impact" on their season but "most notably on Matt’s personal and professional life."

Mr Clarke stood down as the men's first team manager with immediate effect on May 15 after being charged with supplying cocaine and cannabis, and being in possession of an offensive weapon.

The 50-year-old, from Bromsgrove, had always maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Crown Prosecution Service withdrew the charges during a hearing at Worcester Crown Court on Friday (June 21).

Redditch United issued a statement following the hearing. 

A spokesperson said: "Matt has professed his innocence since his initial arrest on February 14th.

"Due to the nature of the charges, and in line with policy, Matt was issued with an interim safeguarding suspension from football.

"Delays in the courts have meant that the prolonged case went well outside of the expected timescales, leading to Matt formally standing down as manager last month as we planned for the new season ahead.

"Matt received a letter from the Crown Prosecution Service on 14th June, which stated that his application for dismissal against all charges would not be challenged.

"The letter, which was received exactly four months following his initial arrest, also confirmed that no evidence had been submitted against him throughout the period. Matt is expecting to receive a formal letter of apology in due course".

They said that now is the right time to "congratulate and "thank" Matt for his efforts at Redditch United over his nearly four year tenure as manager.

They added: "His hard work and dedication oversaw the rejuvenation of on-field results which saw us top the table for a period in 2024, and eventually gain a place in the play-offs.

"The ordeal had a clear impact on our season but most notably on Matt’s personal and professional life. We hope that this outcome now draws a line under a very challenging period and we wish Matt all the best with his future.

"We would like to put on record our thanks to Kevin and Sarah at The Birmingham FA who have helped us navigate the past few months and have offered invaluable support.

"In closing, we also need to pay a special tribute to our Red Army of supporters. Through the uncertainty and adversity, you have been with us all the way. Thank you".

On Facebook, Mr Clarke said: "I cannot put into words the stress and strain it has placed on myself, family and friends.

"There was no justification in any way for the charges as I wasn’t in any way shape or form involved in anything illegal and never been involved with drugs of any kind".

No evidence was also offered against co-defendants Harnaik Malhi, aged 44, from Quinton, Birmingham, and Keller Preece, aged 26, from Hereford, who had also been charged with class A drug supply and possessing an offensive weapon. They have pleaded guilty to a class B drug supply offence.