Maidstone United appoint Harry Wheeler as their new manager
MAIDSTONE UNITED have appointed former Billericay Town boss Harry Wheeler as their new manager.
Wheeler, 30, who became the youngest person to gain the UEFA A Licence at the age of 23, has agreed a deal until the end of this season and takes charge of his first game when Vanarama National League leaders Harrogate Town visit Kent on Saturday.
Maidstone United chief executive Bill Williams told www.maidstoneunited.co.uk:
“For me this is not taking a chance, it’s giving a chance – much like we did with Jay Saunders some seven years ago.
“Terry (Casey), Oliver (Ash) and I spoke at length with Harry yesterday and we were all agreed afterwards that he ticked every box for us.
“He’s got more than 10 years coaching experience, managed more than 250 games and is very much in the mould of the character and personality that we want at the club.
“In Harry, we’ve got someone who can lead and take our team forward, while also buying into the academy, community and development programmes we’ve got underway and are looking to expand in the future.”
Wheeler played for Stevenage, Hampton & Richmond Borough and his home-town club St Albans City. He’d later go on to be The Saints manager after three years as the club’s head coach and has previous managerial experience at Welling United too.
He also has an excellent track record of working with younger players having been head of youth development at Dagenham & Redbridge under the guidance of John Still.
Last season with Billericay Town, he led the club to a hat trick of success with the Isthmian Premier Division title, alongside the League Cup and Essex Senior Cup.
Billericay Town – now in second-place in the Vanarama National League South with 19 points from 9 games – have confirmed that head coach Tristan Lewis and sports scientist Craig Lewis have left the club with immediate effect and are expected to team-up again with Wheeler at Maidstone United.
Saunders’ assistant manager Steven Watt, who took temporary charge for the 1-0 defeats to Gateshead, Sutton United and Salford City, has left the club and heaped praise on Saunders for the memories that he had during his time at the club as player and within the technical area.
“I can’t find the right words to thank Jay Saunders enough for being there with me for every single highlight of my career,” Watt told his personal social media account.
“I have never been happier as a player or achieved more than when I was under his management. Thank you for everything mate.”
On Twitter, Maidstone resident Watt added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thanks to all the fans for their unbelievable support over the last few weeks, through a very difficult period.
“It’s with regret that my time with the club has come to an end again. It was always a wish of mine since leaving to return at some point to be part of the club again and I can’t thank Jay enough for bringing me back. I wish you all nothing but success, you fans deserve it.”
Wheeler takes charge of Maidstone United with the club sitting third-from-bottom (22nd) in the National League table with seven points from 10 league games.
Visit Maidstone United’s website: www.maidstoneunited.co.uk