Loyal stalwart Kevin Stevens celebrates his 400th game in charge of Bearsted
BEARSTED manager Kevin Stevens celebrated a special milestone at the weekend.
Stevens took charge of his 403rd game in the Honey Lane hotseat by beating high-flying Corinthian 1-0 and are in tenth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 18 points from 11 games.
Stevens and his management team watched Corinthian's 6-4 defeat away to league rivals Holmesdale in The FA Vase First Round seven days earlier and the Bears claimed the three points thanks to Daniel Melvin's fourth goal of the season.
Kevin Stevens celebrates taking charge of Bearsted for over 400 games, pictured with his wife Lesley.
Photo: Bearsted FC, X, formerly Twitter.
Stevens, who was appointed manager in 2013, was handed the man-of-the-match award by the club, for his efforts both on and off the pitch, which includes groundsman duties - the Honey Lane playing surface is immaculate.
His wife Lesley also puts in the hard yards for their beloved club, based on the outskirts of Maidstone, working behind the canteen and doing the administration for the ninth-tier club.
“I’m sure you will agree with me that this is an unbelievable milestone,” said Stephen Sage, Stevens’ assistant manager.
“Not many managers make 100 games at a club, let alone 400 and although this is non-league and doesn’t quite have the pressure associated with being a manager in the top-flight.
“Loyalty isn’t a word associated with football, let alone used in the same sentence. Nonetheless, the commitment that Kev has shown to reach this milestone makes it even more impressive.
“This also marks 16 years of volunteering at the club. He would be closer to 500 games in charge if we hadn’t had the disruption and cancellation of a season due to Covid.
“He will hate me for doing this, but I feel as a colleague of his, working closely as his assistant manager, but more importantly a close friend over the years, I want him to get the recognition that he deserves.”
Stevens has a long way to go to beat Neil Cugley's record, who stepped down as Folkestone Invicta's manager on 26 October 2022 after 1,299 games in charge at Cheriton Road.
Current Arsenal footballer, Alessia Russo, 24, started her youth career playing for West Farleigh and the Maidstone born striker then joined Bearsted before leaving to play for Charlton Athletic.
Russo has had a magical two years, playing in England’s 2-1 extra time win over Germany at Wembley Stadium to win the European Championships for the first time in July 2022, and played in the World Cup Final in August 2023, where Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses lost to Spain by a single goal in Sydney.
Stevens spoke of his pride of Russo’s achievements during an post-match interview following his side’s FA Cup Preliminary Round defeat at home to Southall.