I walk away from Kent Football United with my head held high, says Ennio Gonnella

Monday 12th November 2018

KENT FOOTBALL UNITED have appointed Danny Wakeling as their new manager today, following the resignation of Ennio Gonella.

Gonnella took charge of the amateur club for the final time on Saturday when his side lost 3-2 away to Lewisham Borough.

Kent Football United are presently sitting in the bottom three (sixteenth) in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table, with a playing record of two wins and two draws from their 15 league outings.

“I offered to cover Saturday’s game as I didn’t want to leave the club in a difficult position with fines etc by not being able to field a team with short notice of my departure,” said Gonnella, who announced his resignation last Thursday night.

“I must say credit to the lads also as I know some of them it was their last game, not many players with some of their CV’s would do that.

“I walk away with my head held high achieving some great things at the club, a club that used to be looked upon as a bottom four side and turning them in to a side challenging, whilst bringing in some of the most talented players the club has ever had, which have all gone on to play higher.

“But my biggest achievements by far was helping the club secure their highest ever league finishers two seasons on the bounce, which is something Kent Football United have never done before and that’s whilst having points being deducted, in the FA Vase qualification, highest scorers, least goals conceded and a golden boot winner all for the first time ever in the clubs history is something I’m really proud of, achiecing this under sometimes very difficult conditions also.

“A massive thank you to Roy and Sam MacNeil.  I’ve seen first hand how hard they work, which achieving so much in my time to the ground, which is paid out of their own pockets, so it’s understandabale that the team had to take a backwards step this year in terms of set-up, to help concentrate on the ground, which is important.

“Above all, I want to thank the players that have played for me over the past three years, their loyalty is unquestionable. Many could have played higher and turned to other club’s that pay to stick by me and for that I can’t thank them enough.

“I look forward to a new challenge and wish Roy and Kent Football United all the best in the future.”

Wakeling, 43, took charge of Bromley based amateur club Old Bromleians during the summer of 2016 after the club finished at the bottom of the Kent County League Division Two West table and escaped the drop to the bottom tier of senior non-league football courtesy of a reprieve.

Wakeling celebrated winning back-to-back league titles and left Bromleians sitting at the top of the Kent County League Premier Division at the time of his departure at the end of September 2018.

Wakeling won 43 of his 54 league games in charge of the club, drawing five and losing six, including doing the double over Long Lane in his first season in charge but those results were wiped off the league table after that club withdraw from the League.

Wakeling was in charge of 64 games in total and smashed the clubs record win when Stansfield were beaten 15-1 earlier on in the season.

Wakeling takes charge of the Dartford based club for the first time when his former club FC Elmstead visit Lowfield Street on Saturday (15:00).

Meanwhile, Kent Football United’s Ladies side suffered a painful exit in The FA Women’s Cup First Round yesterday.

Sam MacNeil’s side held Luton Town to a 1-1 draw after extra-time but lost 3-1 on penalties.

Lizzile Waldie gave MacNeil’s side the lead in the 68th minute but the home side levelled through Nicola Henman’s curling effort into the top corner.

Luton Town have been drawn away to Billericay Town in the Second Round on 2 December.

“Natural disappointment after a defeat especially in a game we felt we’ve created enough in it to win, but that’s football,” said MacNeil.

“You learn more from the games you lose and we will use this experience to our advantage. I’m very proud of our team and the cup run we’ve had.”

Goalkeeper Jordan Dawes said on Twitter: “The girls put in everything today and to come out of the FA Women’s Cup by losing on penalties to a team in the league above was gutting.”