Lewes chairman: Tony and Joe can help take us to National League
Lewes unveiled their new management duo and declared: They can help us in our aim of reaching the National League.
Tony Russell and Joe Vines are the new manager and assistant who will take over from Hugo Langton.
The duo had big success with Cray Wanderers, taking them from the Isthmian south-east division to the premier division – in which Lewes play – then guiding them to a position as promotion hopefuls.
Langton left by mutual agreement after just over a year in charge.
Russell will be manager; Vines – who used to play for Lewes – his No2.
Russell began his management career at Erith Town where his side won the Kent Senior Trophy.
He moved on to VCD, winning successive promotions and taking the club into step three for the first time.
Appointed at Cray Wanderers – for whom he had also played – in 2015, he led the team to the Isthmian south east title in 2018-19. They were in second spot when the 2019-20 Isthmian premier season came to a halt – and they were just outside the play-off zone 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 two and we believe Tony and Joe will build the platform to get us there.”
Russell said: “We’re 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 we play with the same integrity and values the club has established off the pitch.”
Lewes 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 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”.
The rest of the management team, plus squad updates, will be announced in due course as the club work towards the 2021/22 season.
When Russell and Vines left Cray last month, the club said they wanted to pass their thanks for some ‘incredible’ seasons which saw them rebound from a few seasons of struggle to becoming play-off contenders and then Isthmian south-east champions in 2018-19.
Russell helped Cray place a big emphasis on future planning with the youth team set-up and instilled a playing style which was easy on the eye but made the team hard to beat.
Vines had an extensive playing career with Cray and played for the club in the Kent League and Isthmian League. He became Russell’s right hand man in 2017.