Lewes FC chief executive: Steve King is a winner... we’re delighted to have him back

LEWES FC chief executive Nick Williams said he was highly impressed with the calibre of the candidates for the manager’s job – but said the Board felt King was the man for the job as he could deliever the same kind of success on the pitch that the club had enjoyed off it over the past 12 months, writes Brian Pollard.

“I was impressed with the quality of the people that came forward,” said Mr Williams.

“But we brought back the man who brought the club huge success. We’re delighted to have him back.

“Everything that we did off the pitch last year was a success – it was just a shame that over the last few game Tosh (former Lewes boss Tim O’Shea) couldn’t quite keep us up.

“The decision was taken to part on good terms.”

He added: “It’s fine being successful off the pitch. What we want is success on the pitch to go with it.

“It’s not going to be easy; we’re not bringing him in and thinking, “we can forget about that (and assume on-field success is a foregone conclusion).

“Steve is going to work within the same budget constraints that Tosh had – and the same constraints that any other manager would have if they were here.

“He hasn’t got a big budget so he’s going to have to persuade people (to come to the club). He’s got a lot of contacts on his phone.”

And the Rooks chief enthused of the club’s new mananger: “He’s a winner. He’s going to want to get us promoted straight away – and we’ll be more than happy if he can do that. But in the same way, we’re going to give him support, give him a sensible workable budget to achieve that

“We have a plan for the club, to keep things going forward.

“The question last year was ‘will it survive?’ Now we want to see the club progressing on as well as off the pitch.”

Remembering how it was when watching King’s teams “as a fan” from the terraces, Williams recalled: “It was great football and a great atmosphere at the Dripping Pan.

“We’re not expecting an immediate return to that, of course we’re not. But we do want to see football like that again at the Pan – and we want the people who may have stayed away since Steve’s departure to come back.”

Talking of King’s desire to take the job a second time Williams said: “I was totally convinced that he was coming back for the right, footballing reasons. He loves the town and loved the reception he got before.

“And the way he left (the club) last time... we all know how that was for him.

“He certainly convinced me that he wanted to be part of the rebuilding of the fan base.”

Chairman Steve Ibbitson said he couldn’t be happier that King was back at the Pan as manager and said that he was optimistic the former Lewes boss’s appointment would return some much needed success on the pitch that the Rooks long suffering fans richly deserved.

“I’m very very happy,” said Ibbo. “He (King) is a very good manager and their record (King’s and his assistant, Justin Skinner’s) compares with anybody’s.

“Our first priority remains the financial security of the club – I’m sorry to keep banging on about that, but it is our first priority.

“But our supporters have been great these past three years but they have hardly been a successful three years. They deserve success on what we can afford – and getting Steve back gives us the best opportunity for that.

“Our new Board have done brilliantly in coming in and making changes – and goes right down to ideas for attracting people through the gates on match days – but now is the time when we need a little bit of success on the field as well.

“I’m not saying we’re going to win the league but we need to start winning matches and playing well, and having Steve gives us a great opportunity to do that. I’m very exited about next season and I’m very pleased that Steve is here with us.”