Gillingham Ladies part company with Simon Ratcliffe following relegation
GILLINGHAM LADIES have appointed a new joint-managerial partnership after the club suffered relegation last month.
The club has decided to part company with Simon Ratcliffe, 48, who made 105 appearances for the club between 1995-1998, after a disappointing season.
HAPPIER TIMES: Gillingham celebrate winning the Kent Women's Cup Final after beating London Cointhians 5-3 at Maidstone on 25 March 2015
Photo: Kent FA
A club statement said: “Following a tough season in the FA Women’s Premier League it is with regret the club is to part company with manager Simon Ratcliffe.
“Ratcliffe took over the management of the ladies team for the 2014/15 season, leading the club to a historic victory in the Kent Women’s Cup, but form in the league led to a disappointing withdrawal from the third tier of the women’s game for the first time in four seasons.
“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Simon for his hard work and dedication to Gilingham Ladies FC and we wish him well for the future.”
Focus now turns to preparing for next season and Gillingham FC is pleased to announce that Darren Hare and Jack Wheeler will be taking joint charge of Gillingham Ladies with immediate effect, as they seek to re-group and build upon the club’s prestigious history as Kent’s best women’s team.
Hare, who will be taking on the role in addition to that of the club’s Academy manager, told the club’s website: “We would like to start by thanking Simon for his hard work with the women’s team.
“Simon took over at a very difficult point for the club and whilst last season was spent re-grouping and transitioning into the club’s framework as a whole, we’re now at a more advanced stage with great foundations ready to re-build the winning mentality that is an integral part of the culture at Gillingham Ladies.
“I’m delighted to welcome back Jack Wheeler to the club. Jack held an important role during the team’s most successful season the year before last and I’m pleased we will be able to use his experience and expertise to kick start our season.”
Wheeler joins the club with a season’s experience at Gillingham Ladies having been a part of the staffing team which oversaw the club reach its highest league position, undergo its longest run in the FA Women’s Cup and retain the Ryman League and Kent Women’s Cup.
Wheeler revealed his excitement at returning back to the club.
He said: “I had a fantastic season with Gillingham Ladies not so long ago and I’m delighted to be invited back into the set up. Our 2013/14 season was a historic and record-breaking one and whilst the club has undergone some setbacks over the last year or so, plenty of progress has taken place.
“I’m really impressed by the club’s commitment as a whole to the women’s team, the fact the girls have access to the facilities at the club, receive so much focus and support from the fans, besides having the opportunity to play at Priestfield, give plenty to be positive about and work with in the future.
“Darren and I are excited by the challenge and believe together we can build a team that is organised and equipped to ensure this football club is in the position it deserves to be.
“It’s going to be a tough pre-season but everyone is determined to ensure we have a successful season and Gills Ladies is an exciting place to be at the moment.”
Gillingham Ladies would like to welcome players aged 18 and above to attend a taster session with the management duo on Tuesday 16th June.
If you’re interested in attending the open session please email firstname.lastname@example.org