Ennio Gonnella leaves FC Elmstead to return to manage their league rivals Kent Football United while Jones' family take charge of Meridian VP

Sunday 09th May 2021

KENT FOOTBALL UNITED have re-appointed Ennio Gonnella as their new manager.

Gonnella resigned from his managerial position at league rivals FC Elmstead yesterday to return to Dartford to manage the Southern Counties East Football League First Division club for a second spell.

Kent Football United were looking for a new manager after joint-managers James and Lloyd Bradley left the club a couple of days ago.

“My decision to leave FC Elmstead was a difficult one,” said Gonnella.

“Every club I have been at I have tried to challenge myself. It just felt the right time to say goodbye.

“Firstly, Fabio (Rossi) and Paul (Brook) have been brilliant and very supportive in every way. They are great and any manager will be lucky to work with them.

“I believe I have taken them as far as I can and for that reason I have decided to step down.

“Within the two and a half years at the club we had a club record breaking with us challenging for a top four spot, spending a long time at the beginning sitting top the league.

“As the pandemic grew and lockdown was upon us we had eight games remaining (towards the end of the 2019-20 season) and who knows what the outcome was going to be?

“An opportunity came to me and after a long think and discussions with my management team and players, I have decided to return to Kent Football United.

“Roy and Sam McNeil have continued to grow off the pitch especially and the set-up is now a lot better than when I left three years ago.

“The time is right to reunite with a club that I gave a lot too and the club has given me so much in return.

“Roy called me and we discussed his plans. After hearing it, firstly, it’s always nice to be wanted.

“I think managers get blamed for almost everything nowadays and that’s at every level.

“I’m human and being wanted is always rewarding, secondly, what he has planned is an excitement and I haven’t felt in a whole so it’s time.

“I would like to wish Fabio, Paul, Stewart (Murphy) and Andy and Guy (Eldridge) at Sutton Athletic for making me feel at home while I was there and I wish all of them the best in the future.”

Meanwhile, twin brothers Owen and Rupert Jones, who last worked together at Erith & Belvedere, have been appointed the new management team at Charlton-based side Meridian VP.

Rupert Jones said: "I'm proud to announce the appointment of my brother Owen Jones as the manager of Meridian and I will be his assistant manager.  His son George will be player-coach.

"Owen did a great job at Erith & Belvedere, so here's to more success with Meridian."

Meridian VP's chairman Dwinder Tamna and Sean Boothe were in charge of the side during the 2020-21 season.

Kent Football United were sitting in ninth-place in the table after eight league outings before the 2020-21 campaign was curtailed due to Covid-19 restrictions, while FC Elmstead were sitting in the bottom three and Meridian VP were at the foot of the table.

The 2021-22 Southern Counties East Football League First Division campaign will get underway on Saturday 31 July 2021.