I couldn't turn down the opportunity to return to Hythe Town and help steady the ship, says newly-reappointed coach Will Graham
HYTHE TOWN have appointed Will Graham as their new first-team coach, working alongside interim manager James Rogers to steady the ship.
The 36-year-old returns to Reachfields Stadium having just left their Isthmian League South East Division rivals Ramsgate, where he worked within their youth ranks.
Steven Watt resigned from the managers role on Monday 15 November after promised funds failed to materialise and his assistant manager Nathan Elder and player-coach Frannie Collin took charge of their home game against struggling Whitstable Town, which saw Keith McMahon’s side come away from Reachfields Stadium with a 3-0 win on 20 November.
The club then announced on 25 November that midfielder Rogers, 36, will take interim charge, with centre-half Tom Wynter assisting him and they came away from Lancing with a 1-0 win in their first game in charge.
Graham was appointed coach yesterday and officially gets involved on Saturday when bottom-of-the-table Phoenix Sports visit Reachfields Stadium.
The Cannons beat Faversham Town 3-2 on penalties after their Kent Senior Trophy tie finished all-square at 1-1 after 90 minutes last night.
Goalkeeper Henry Newcombe was sent-off 10 minutes into the second half so Hythe Town’s right-back Liam Smith went in goal and saved two penalties in the shoot-out.
“Obviously being at Hythe previously, I’ve got a lot of affection for the club and had a lot of good times there under Clive Cook with the likes of Alfie May etc,” said Graham.
“It’s good to be back at the top table, so to speak, within the management side of things and I’m looking forward to being back in.
“I’ve never been out of it to a degree with my scouting business so my knowledge of the league hasn’t gone away.”
When asked about their County Cup success over James Collins’ Faversham Town, Graham replied: “I officially start this Saturday so I wasn’t there last night but speaking to James today it sounds like a very eventful game with Liam Smith going in goal and becoming a bit of a hero. It’s definitely one I regret not being there for but I start on Saturday.”
Phoenix Sports remain at the foot of the table with only four points from 15 games, with Steve O’Boyle losing all of his five games since returning to the club, therefore the club have now lost all of their 16 games in all competitions.
“Phoenix have had a change of management with Steve going in as the new manager and have had a change of personnel, a couple of players leaving, a couple coming in, which is normally expected with a change of manager,” added Graham.
“We’ve had a couple of good results. With our own situation that has been going on and a lot of changes and a lot of change of players.
“Both teams will be looking to get the win out of that match and looking to keep the momentum going for us and Phoenix looking to trying to get some points on the board.”
When asked what the remit is at Hythe Town, Graham revealed: “I think it’s just trying to steady the ship. It’s no secret really about the finances and struggle along with Covid and stuff like that. It’s not been easy for football as a whole really.
“I think in the short-term James Rogers has been put in charge and I’ve come in to assist him and support him with the coaching and bits and bobs and for everyone that’s involved it’s just about to steady the ship and get the finances in control and stabilise the team and try and see how we go.
“I’m excited to be back in a first-team situation. I took a role at Ramsgate from Matt Longhurst with the under 18s to try to get them stabilised and get players into the first-team, which I done during my short time there.
“I left as it was a clash of interest and things like that with Hythe and Ramsgate being in the same league so it’s naturally I’ve stepped away from there to step in to Hythe.
“I thank them for everything for me personally and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to return to Hythe, who I have got an affection for and to be back in the first-team set-up.”
Meanwhile, the club have confirmed that Elder, Collin, Noel Leighton (Three Bridges), Nathan Gordon (Tooting & Mitcham United), Darren Oldaker (Dorking Wanderers), Andrew Sesay (Hastings United), Will Godmon, Scott Doe and Alex Flisher have all left the club.
Hythe Town are in tenth-place in the table with six wins, two draws and six defeats in the league this season.
Visit Hythe Town’s website: www.hythetownfc.co.uk