Fisher appoint first-team coach Michael Williams after Ajay Ashanike accepts Basildon United's approach to manage in the Isthmian League North

Monday 11th December 2023

FISHER have appointed first-team coach Michael Williams as their new manager following the shock departure of Ajay Ashanike following a successful approach from Basildon United to become their new manager.


The Essex outfit are in fourth-place in the Isthmian League North Division having picked up 27 points (eight wins, three draws and four defeats) from their 15 games and are seven points adrift of leaders Lowestoft Town in the eighth-tier.

Hackney based Ashanike took charge of his final Fisher game on Saturday, beating Bearsted 1-0 at St Paul’s Stadium, which has the Rotherhithe based club in eighth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 29 points (nine wins, two draws and six defeats) from their 17 games.

Ashanike, who like other Fisher manager’s work without a budget, joined the club in the summer of 2019, as Allan Fenn’s assistant manager, but moved into the managerial hot-seat that October.

Ashanike's first two campaigns were abandoned due to the Covid-19 health pandemic. Fisher then finished in thirteenth-place and eleventh-place and he leaves the club just four points adrift of the play-off zone.

“Following an approach from another club, higher up the pyramid, Ajay Ashanike has today resigned his position as manager of Fisher FC,” said a club statement.

“This was a very difficult decision for Ajay and we thank him for the tremendous job he has done, leading the club over the last four years, bringing through so many exciting and talented players, including taking us to our first cup final since reforming.

“Luke With will also be leaving his role as assistant manager to join Ajay at his new club.

“We wish them both every success in their new roles.  They will always be friends of the Fish and welcomed visitors at St Paul’s.

“We are pleased to announce that our first-team coach Michael Williams has agreed to step up to take charge of the team as first-team manager, assisted by Jordan Darwish.”

Ashanike’s ability to recruit exciting young players and give them a chance to impress in the ninth-tier of English football is second to none and players such as Ade Olowu (Barnet), Jamie Yila (Chatham Town), Peter Ojemen (Dover Athletic) and Cedric Nganga (Glacis United in Gibraltar) have all benefited from Ashanike’s talent production line.

Fisher enjoyed an eight-match run in The FA Cup before losing 3-0 to National League South side Welling United in front of a record home crowd of 573 in the Second Qualifying Round Replay last September, and lost 2-1 to Hollands & Blair in the Challenge Cup Final last season.

“We have had regular approaches for Ajay over the years as we do with players and have always allowed him to talk freely with his suitors,” added the statement.

“He now, rightly believes the time is right for him to apply his skills higher up the pyramid and we wish him every success.

“Michael Williams has been part of the coaching team throughout Ajay’s tenure at Fisher and is greatly respected by the players and committee alike.

“The appointment of Michael as manager gives us great continuity to further develop the model Ajay has created and fits in with our ethos of developing young talent.  We have no hesitation in asking him to step up and lead the club forwards.”

Williams’ first game in charge is a trip to third-placed Glebe at Foxbury Avenue on Tuesday night (19:45), while Ashanike's first game in charge of Basildon United is a trip to leaders Lowestoft Town on Saturday, 16 December.

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