JIMMY Phillips has stepped down as academy director at Wanderers.

Bolton born-and-bred, Phillips had devoted 30 years of his professional career to his hometown club as a player, coach, caretaker manager and finally as head of the youth set up at Lostock.

Phillips made more than 300 appearances in two spells with the Whites having himself come through the youth team at Burnden Park, and would later help the likes of Zach Clough, Josh Vela, Rob Holding, Dennis P:olitic and Ronan Darcy into the first team set-up.

“After 30 years’ service at Bolton Wanderers, both as a player and a member of staff, I feel the time has now come to pursue new challenges, personally and professionally,” Phillips said in a statement.

“I look back over my time at BWFC with pride and fond memories. I would very much like to thank the fans for their great support over the years.

“We have been through our ups and downs on our journey together and their strength has been tremendous.

“I am also extremely grateful for the dedication and loyalty of my colleagues at the academy. I have very much appreciated their hard work over the years.

“Lastly, I would like to wish Football Ventures the best of luck for the future of the club as they move forward under Ian Evatt’s leadership.

“Bolton Wanderers will always hold a very special place in my heart.”

Phillips stepped into the breach as caretaker manager on three occasions, firstly alongside Sammy Lee in 2012 and then for a stint in the dugout alongside Peter Reid at the end of the 2015/16 season.

He then stepped into the breach once again after Phil Parkinson’s resignation last year to guide the team through three games at the start of the season.

Chairman Sharon Brittan paid tribute to Phillips’ service to the club, wishing him well in his next move.

“Jimmy is the epitome of a club legend and has devoted most of his professional life to Bolton Wanderers,” she said.

“Following the recategorization of our academy to category three it was mutually agreed that Jimmy would step down as academy director.

“During my time as chairman I have always found Jimmy to be thoroughly professional and dedicated to his job.

“His passion for the club is evident and he will always be welcome at the University of Bolton Stadium.

“We would like to thank him for his exceptional service to the club and wish him well for the future.”