FORMER England cricket star Steve Harmison has been announced as the surprise new manager of Northern League Division One side Ashington.

Harmison, who was known as the ‘Ashington Express’ during a cricketing career that saw him take more than 200 Test wickets for England, has strong links with the non-league football scene as his brother, James, skippered both Ashington and Bedlington during a lengthy Northern League career.

The former Durham pace bowler will be accompanied by head coach Ian Skinner and Lee Anderson as he takes charge of an Ashington side who are struggling in 17th position in the table following Saturday’s 4-0 defeat to Marske.

Ashington chairman, and local MP, Ian Lavery said: “All three have a wealth of experience in the sporting world and together can build on the success that Ashington Football Club have had since moving to Woodhorn Lane.”

Harmison’s first game in charge of Ashington comes on Tuesday, and will see  his new side take on Bishop Auckland.