An actor from popular ITV soap Emmerdale will be taking over the managerial reins at Chester-le-Street in the summer.

No, not Cain, Jimmy or Aaron, but Grant Crookes.

As revealed in Northern Echo online and in Local Heroes on Saturday, 45 year old Crookes will replace Stuart Sherwood as manager at the end of the season when Sherwood retires after 14 years at the club..

Crookes is a former pro who played at Hartlepool and Darlington, and when he retired eventually from playing, he was coach or assistant manager, at several Yorkshire non league clubs, including Emley where he was assistant to former Darlington midfielder Ian Banks.

However, as an interesting sideline from his full time job, which is now in the north east and football commitments, Crookes also appears periodically in the soap, and he revealed: “I have speaking and non speaking parts in Emmerdale, but I’m more like an extra. The last speaking part I had was in a hospital scene after Jimmy’s accident, and I was recently in the background in a restaurant scene.

“I’ve been doing the job for a while now. I’ve just had a call from the agency asking if I’m available for filming later this month, so the episode concerned will probably be shown in late May, early June.

“I’ve also just had an audition for Elm Street, which is going to be filmed in the region.”

Crookes, who is currently assistant manager at West Allotment, is probably the first Northern League manager to appear in a TV soap opera. When Heartbeat was filmed in Goathland, Whitby officials Graham Manser and Charlie Woodward played background characters.

The Northern League scene can be a quite dramatic soap opera at times, with all sorts of colourful and controversial characters, so Crookes should settle in quite nicely.