JOHN Mifsud is the new manager of Basildon United and has made it clear they will not be a feeder club for his former side Billericay Town.

Mifsud – who has managed Billericay’s under-18s, reserves, and had a short spell in charge of their first team – replaces John Higley, who was sacked on Sunday.

Higley said he was fired after being told by Basildon chairman Paul Smith that they intended to amalgamate with Billericay.

But both Smith and Mifsud have said there are no plans in place to do that.

“There are no plans for us to be a feeder club for Billericay,” said Mifsud. “Basildon United is a club in its own right, and we will be keeping it that way.”

Mifsud – who’s been in charge of Billericay’s now defunct Capital League reserve side for the last four seasons – said he feels he’s taking over at a club with the potential to play at a higher level than the Essex Senior League.

“I’m not coming in with a view to Basildon just making up the numbers in the division,” he said.

“Historically, I’ve liked a winning dressing room and that only comes when you are winning football matches.

“I think Basildon can play at a higher level than the Essex Senior League, and we will try to achieve that as soon as possible.”

Mifsud has brought in his former assistant at Billericay, Paul Moody, as his assistant manager at the Bees.

He will also have former Colchester, Barnet and Norwich coach Graham Scales as his head of football development. Mifsud says their first priority will be to put in place a stable footballing structure which builds upon the improvements in infrastructure made since Smith came in as chairman in the summer.

Smith said he made the decision to let Higley go because he had struggled to build a strong enough squad to compete in the Essex Senior League once injuries and work commitments started to take their toll.

He thanked Higley for his service and wished him well for the future, but added: “It was the right time for John to go. A few of the players were disillusioned with what was happening here, and if I did not make this move now I think we would have started going backwards.”

Smith said he could see the rationale for a tie-up with Billericay, and admitted he could understand why many local followers of the local non-league felt it would happen.

But he added: “There has never been a discussion on that, and I have no intention of going up that route.”