Margate appoint Steven Watt as their new manager

Friday 24th February 2017

MARGATE have acted swiftly to Nikki Bull’s departure last night by appointing Steven Watt as their new manager until the end of the season.

Chairman Alistair Bayliss was tasked to find a replacement and contacted Hastings United manager Darren Hare this morning to ask permission to speak to the Scottish 31-year-old, who was Hare’s assistant manager at The Pilot Field.

“Darren was very gracious and understanding that this was an opportunity too big for Steven to turn down and he joins us with his blessing,” Mr Bayliss said in a statement, which was posted on

“We would like to thank all at Hastings United for their co-operation and wish them well for the remainder of the season.”

This move to Hartsdown Park will be a blow to Hastings United, who have climbed up to fifth-place in the Ryman League Division One South table with 64 points from their 34 league games – courtesy of keeping five clean sheets in their past five winning league games.

Watt played under Jose Mourhino at Premier League Chelsea, where he made his debut in a FA Cup tie against Scunthorpe United in January 2005. The central defender made his Premier League debut, coming on as an 89th substitute at Newcastle United four months later.

With five Scottish under 21 caps to his name, Watt  has also featured for Barnsley (loan); Swansea City, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Ross County, Grimsby Town, Dover Athletic, Maidstone United, Hemel Hempstead Town, Leatherhead and Hastings United.

Current Dover Athletic Academy manager Mike Sandmann, who has previous managerial experience at Ryman Premier League side Leatherhead, has been appointed first team coach, while Bull’s assistant, Steve Brown, is staying and the trio have been tasked of completing The Great Escape, despite Margate losing their last 16 league games.

Watt issued a statement on his Twitter account, ahead of his first manager’s role.

“Thank you to everyone who messaged me about my appointment at Margate FC,” he said.

“I can’t wait to get started with Steve Brown and Mike Sandmann working alongside me.

“A special thank you to Hastings United, a great club with amazing staff and fans.  I wouldn’t have been able to make the step up to manager at Margate without the support of Hastings’ manager Darren Hare, someone I have been very grateful to work with and pleased to have as a friend. 

“Looking forward to tomorrow and the future with Margate FC.”

Margate have announced three new arrivals ahead of tomorrow’s relegation six-pointer against Whitehawk at Hartsdown Park.

Joseff Morrell, 20, has joined Margate on a 28-day loan spell from Championship outfit Bristol City.

Morrell has spent time on loan at Vanarama National League side Sutton United earlier on in the season.

The Margate chairman hailed the arrival of former Maidstone United midfielder James Rogers, 32.

“I’m absolutely delighted that a player of James’ quality has decided to join us,” said Mr Bayliss.

“It is a deal that I personally have been trying to get over the line for over a week now and feel that Steven Watt joining us today has accelerated his introduction.

“I’d like to thank Jay Saunders and Maidstone United for dealing with this so quickly for us enabling James to be made available for tomorrow’s game.”

Margate have also re-signed Dover Athletic midfielder Ira Jackson on loan for a month.

Whitehawk arrive at Hartsdown Park in the bottom three and are eight more points than bottom-of-the-table Margate, who have 16 points and have 13 league games of their miserable campaign left.

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