Former Cray bosses take over at Lewes FC

Tony Russell and Joe Vines are the new management team for Lewes FC's men's side.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 7:14 pm
Tony Russell and Joe Vines at The Dripping Pan / Picture: Lewes FC

The duo left Cray - who like Lewes play in the Isthmian premier - last month and will now take over at the Dripping Pan.

They follow in the footsteps of Hugo Langton, who left by mutual agreement recently after just over a year in charge.

Russell will be manager, Vines - who used to play for Lewes - his assistant.

Russell began his management career at Erith Town where he won the Kent Senior Trophy before moving on and winning successive promotions with VCD, taking the club into Step 3 for the first time.

Appointed as manager of Cray Wanderers in 2015, his team won the Isthmian South East in 2018/19, were 2nd place in the null and voided 2019/20 Isthmian Premier season and just outside the play-offs in the curtailed 2020/21 season.

Lewes chairman Stuart Fuller, said: “Tony is an outstanding manager, with one of the best track records at our level over the last few seasons. There won’t be many who haven’t admired the way Cray Wanderers have played in that period and we look forward to Tony and Joe bringing their style of football to the Dripping Pan. Our ambition is to be playing Step 2 and we believe Tony and Joe will build the platform to get us there”

Director and co-Head of men’s football John Peel said: “Tony and Joe have an incredibly impressive record at this level of the game and every one of the teams they have coached have played attractive, winning football. We have held lengthy discussions with the two of them during the recruitment process and I’ve personally been enormously impressed by their knowledge, insight and energy as well as their ethos and values”.

Russell said: “We are both excited to be joining the club, who will be able to match our ambitions to progress. Our aim is bring success to the club, continuing the excellent work the club has achieved with their youth players, ensuring that we play with the same integrity and values that the club has established off the pitch."

The rest of the management team - and Rooks squad updates 0 will be announced in due course as the club work towards the 2021/22 season.

When Russell and Vines left Cray, the club said they wanted to pass their thanks for some 'incredible' seasons which saw the club rebound from a few seasons of struggle to becoming play-off contenders and Isthmian South-East champions in 2018-19.

Cray were second when the 2019-20 Isthmian Premier season was suspended and won five out of the seven league games played in 2020-21.

Russell played for Cray from 2004-2006 and arrived as manager of the club from VCD Athletic in the summer of 2015 and had steered Erith Town to the Kent Senior Trophy in 2010-11 and guided VCD to the Kent League Championship in 2012-13 and the Isthmian North title in 2013-14.

He helped Cray Wanderers reach the Isthmian North play-offs in 2015-16 and when switched to the Isthmian South also reached the play-offs in 2017-18 in a side which scored 112 leagues goals. Cray Wanderers became the first ever Isthmian South-East champions in 2018-19, and he won the Isthmian South Manager of the Year and returned to the Isthmian Premier after a five season absence.

Russell was a big voice in improving the way the club can move forward off the pitch with a big emphasis on future planning with the youth team set-up and instilled a playing style which although was easy on the eye worked extremely hard and the Wands became a tough side to beat during his time in charge.

Ex-Rooks star Vines had an extensive playing career with Cray Wanderers over different spells having played for the club in the Kent League, Isthmian Premier, North, South and South-East. He became Russell’s right hand man in the summer of 2017 and over four seasons the pair made a big impression together at the club.