I made my mind up to go when I caught wind that our job was being touted about and offered to other managers, says former Kent Football United joint-manager Steve Devereux

Monday 09th September 2019

KENT FOOTBALL United have appointed Rupert Jones as their new manager after joint-managers Steve Devereux and Richmond Kissi resigned on Saturday evening after only seven games in charge.


The rookie pair took charge of the Dartford based club on Sunday 7 July 2019 after Danny Wakeling left the club three days earlier to take over at newly-promoted Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division side Welling Town.

Deveruex and Kissi left the Dartford based club on Saturday following a 4-1 defeat at bottom-of-the-table side Bridon Ropes. 

Kent Football United are sitting in the bottom three in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with four points from their opening six games.

Kent Football United started the campaign with a 6-2 home defeat to Forest Hill Park, before coming away from Holmesdale with a 1-1 draw.

A 4-1 home defeat to Meridian VP followed, before they came away from Sporting Club Thamesmead with a 2-1 win at Bayliss Avenue on 22 August.

Kent Football United followed that with a 5-0 defeat at home to Rochester United, before they were knocked out of The FA Vase at the first hurdle, going down to a 1-0 extra time defeat at league rivals Snodland Town, before losing at Bridon Ropes at the weekend.

“It’s been a great experience and we go from here with our heads held high,” said Devereux.

“Richmond and I were taken on as a management team with three weeks until the season started and had to start a squad from scratch.

“In the period up to the start of the season we had to look at a large number of players’ in a very short period of time and we put together an initial squad that we felt would compete.

“It was always going to be a case after that of cutting numbers and adding experienced lads as and when they became available or getting lads in on loan from the fringes of teams in the level above.

“Despite a couple of very encouraging performances against Holmesdale and Sporting Club Thamesmead away from home, the results and performances haven’t been good enough and as a management team we had been working hard at improving the playing squad bit by bit.

“Of course, we know this is a results business but I also think club’s who are asking managers for a top four finish immediately need to be realistic to the situation they are in and ensure a sufficient network and adequate resources are made available to create a positive culture.

“To be honest, disappointingly this hasn’t happened at Kent Football United.  Regardless of having no playing budget, there’s certain fundamentals that club’s in the Southern Counties East Football League need to have such as warm-up tops, tracksuits, kit and equipment, footballs!

“We had a situation on Saturday against Bridon Ropes in regards to this, which was embarrassing and left us in a really difficult situation pre-game.  Thankfully the opposition was understanding and Tony Provan, the groundsman over there knows a few of the boys and sorted us some bits.

“To add to this, Richmond and I caught wind that our job was being touted about and offered to other managers.  Word goes round in non-league with contacts etc.  I made my mind up to go obviously when I found this out.

“I’ve got no time at all for dishonesty and dealing with issues like this in the background, when we’re putting our lives on hold trying to develop their team sums it up really.

“I’ve enjoyed immensely working with Richmond Kissi, Dan Elliot and Dave Dixon and my good friend Danny Wakeling, as part of the management team previously.

“We had put together a good management team with hours on end being put in, scouting players, contacting managers who we know in the game and dealing with our squad.

“Moving forward for me personally, I will have a short break and go and watch some games for some friends and eventually we will look to find another opportunity at the right club.”

A Kent Football United statement said: “We are pleased to welcome Rupert Jones to the club. He joins following his role as Erith & Belvedere assistant and has managed Tilbury for three seasons. He will be joined by Sam MacNeil as head coach.”

Jones’ first game in charge of the club will be against Kent County League Premier Division side Crockenhill in the Hospitals Charity Cup First Round next Tuesday 17 September.

An Erith & Belvedere statement said Rupert Jones has left his brother Owen to take over at Kent Football United.

“Rupert called the chairman Mick Cooper to inform him of an offer of first team management within the SCEFL,” said the statement.

“Mick thanked Rupert for his great work, congratulated him and wishes him every success.”

The Deres are in eighth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, having collected two wins and three draws from their first six games after spending two seasons in the First Division after relegation.

Meanwhile, Erith & Belvedere’s second-choice goalkeeper Lewis Mitchell has explained why he is retiring from playing football at the ninth-tier of English football.

“Retiring at 19 is something I never though I’d do but it’s now about my mental health and sometimes sacrifices have to be made,” Mitchell said on Twitter.

“Football is and always will be a massive part of my life but I can’t carry on pretending to be happy.

“I will be continuing football, just at a much lower level so I can enjoy the game.

“The key thing for anyone going through depression or anything along those lines, surround yourself by good people and positive vibes.

“Retiring from semi-pro football wasn’t easy but at this current stage of my life I have no love for football and no interest of playing at a high level.

“I can only hope and pray that changes and people can see me back on the pitch at a standard where I’ve been before.”

Erith & Belvedere welcome Oakwood to Park View Road in The Buildbase FA Vase Second Qualifying Round next Sunday, 15 September (15:00).