We’re an ambitious and meticulous group of people that are determined to progress the club and we have a long-term plan in place and a team of committed people ready to get to work, says newly-appointed Tunbridge Wells manager Luke Carpenter

Sunday 22nd May 2022

NEWLY-APPOINTED Tunbridge Wells manager Luke Carpenter says he is thrilled to be given the opportunity to manage his home-town club.

The 33-year-old was unveiled as the new manager at Culverden Stadium on Friday, following the departure of Richard Styles and his assistant manager Dan Morrin to their relegated league rivals Whitstable Town on 16 May.

The Oystermen’s first four summer signings have been taken away from Tunbridge Wells, with 35-goal striker Matthew Gething, midfielders James Huggins, Jordan Wells and winger Kyron Lightfoot all following their former manager to play on the new 3G playing surface at Belmont Road.

Reflecting on the 2021-22 campaign when he was coaching Chatham Town, who finished a couple of points behind runners-up to Sheppey United on 100 points, Carpenter said: “The experience at Chatham was incredible from the management to staff and then the players.

“It’s been the most welcoming environment I have ever been in and despite them all being such a close-knit bunch I was welcomed and treated as if we’d grown up together and what I learnt at Chatham was invaluable.”

Tunbridge Wells finished in eighth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division last season and chairman Scott Bartlett has appointed Carpenter, who has previously played for the club and returned to the club as coach under Styles and Morrin in June 2019 following the trio’s departure from Lordswood.

“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to not only manage by home-town club, but also manage a club with so much history and stature at Step Five,” added Carpenter, who played for Crowborough Athletic, Chipstead (Surrey) and The Wells before turning to coaching at the age of 27.

“Tunbridge Wells have arguably the best fan-base at Step Five, which has been here for years that support the team through thick and thin.”

Carpenter has appointed Steve Ives, who was Sean Muggeridge’s assistant at Crowborough Athletic before being appointed AFC Uckfield Town’s manager in April 2020.

“I am very happy with the staff added so far.  This was a priority for me to ensure that the management team represent my believes and values and I feel that I’ve got that in abundance,” said Carpenter.

“Steve Ives will join me as assistant and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience but beyond that he is an infectious character who is driven to improve himself as well as others around him.

“The same goes for George Loscombe, our sports therapist, who is one of the best at what he does.  The difference he will make to the squad physically will be a huge benefit.”

Carpenter and his management team spoke to the current squad at Tunbridge Wells yesterday.

He said: “Speaking to the current squad, Steve, George and I have heled positive discussions with players.

“We’ve laid out our vision so the players know what to expect from us and what will be expected from them.

“The chats have been good and we’re all feeling enthusiastic about the season ahead.”

Carpenter had this message for the Culverden faithful.

“We value the support that you all bring and hopefully we’ll give you something to be proud of.  It’s early days since our appointment but we’ve put in a lot of work already.

“We’re an ambitious and meticulous group of people that are determined to progress the club.  We have a long-term plan in place and a team of committed people ready to get to work.”