JOHN Relish threw his hat into the ring for the Newport County job yesterday, insisting he'd love to be the man to take the club back into the big time.

Relish is a popular figure in Newport having made 400 appearances for County as a player. He was appointed player-manager in 1986, helping to stave off relegation, and became the first manager of the newly-formed Newport AFC in 1989, winning promotion from the Hellenic League.

In three seasons in charge of Bath City, Relish has led them to promotion from the Southern Premier league and eighth place in the Blue Square South this year, one place above the Exiles.

"I'm under contract at Bath and I've got a great bunch of players but in football you never say never," said Relish.

"Newport County is a superb club. The support is fantastic and I get on very well with Chris Blight who has done a great job there. The set-up is perfect.

"I would love nothing better than to be the man to take the club back into the Conference one day," he added.

"They may need to change a few things to make that last step up and get into the football league but the structure is there for the club to be in the Conference, I have no doubt."

Relish brought his Bath side to Spytty Park an amazing four times this season, winning in the league and FA Cup back in October last year, and he has sympathy for Peter Beadle who was sacked on Sunday.

"I know Peter well and he's obviously disappointed and wounded at the moment but he's a young ambitious manager and I'm sure he'll find another club in no time.

"Terry Cooper (ex-Leeds player) once told me that you don't become a manager until you've been sacked for the first time so Peter is in the manager's club for real now but he'll definitely bounce back from this.

"I will let the dust settle but I'll speak to him soon, as well as Scott Young who I have worked with as a football in the community officer.

"I wish them both well in the future."