Following confirmation that non-elite football can return from December, the club are delighted to confirm that Tommy Kirwan and Karl Gillingham will manage our 1st team, who currently sit 5th in the Southern Combination Football League Division 1.
Tommy and Karl will be assisted by Daniel Burgess who has made a great impact since coming on board earlier this season. The new management team have already added to their squad with the signings of Adam Dine, Craig Anderson and Khalil Bilal. We are also close to confirming another signing, which will be announced once the paperwork goes through.
The chairman Phil Brotherton approached Karl to form a partnership with Tommy, who had previously been the assistant manager to Curtis Foster who departed from the club at the beginning of November, and who we thank for his efforts during his time, managing a successful side last year unfortunately missing out on promotion with the voided campaign, and then re building the squad this campaign. It was a natural fit for us as we have always looked to recruit internally where we can, both have a history with the club and a great relationship with the current playing squad, as well as the management set up throughout the club.
This is Tommy's first season in football management and has made a fantastic start, Karl has previously managed our reserve side for 3 seasons, as well as assisting Anthony Whittington during his last spell, and as part of the management team from last campaign's voided season, with Oak sitting 3rd in the league.
Tommy had this to say, "I'm delighted to be given the opportunity to step up and lead this talented side alongside Karl. I'm looking forward to demonstrating our potential as a group and pushing on to set the club up for future success, starting with a top 4 finish this year."
Karl added, "I want to start by thanking reserve team manager Kieran Howard-May who gave me an opportunity to return to playing this season, I thoroughly enjoyed it and whilst disappointed to leave the side, I'm excited to work with the first team squad, a group of talented players I know well from my years at the club. In addition, I am keen to ensure the club continues its current progression, the reserves and u23s are both challenging for their respective leagues and we have a new u18 side this season just getting going, there are a lot of talented players within those squads, the future is looking bright. I very much believe in our 'one club' ethos and look forward to helping the club as a whole move forward from my new position."
The 1st team squad are looking forward to returning to league action with an away game v Worthing United on 8 December. A game which also sees both sides play out the Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt Trophy. We hope you can come and support the side and new management team.