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Gillingham boss Peter Taylor has chosen Andy Hessenthaler to be his assistant manager at Priestfield

By Luke Cawdell
Boss Peter Taylor brought in Andy Hessenthaler as his no.2 in the summer Picture: Barry Goodwin
Boss Peter Taylor brought in Andy Hessenthaler as his no.2 in the summer Picture: Barry Goodwin

Andy Hessenthaler has been chosen by Gillingham boss Peter Taylor to be his right-hand man.

Hessenthaler has twice managed the Gills, played over 350 games for them and also spent a season at Priestfield as director of football.

His new role will see him assist Taylor as the Gills look to build on last season’s 17th place finish in League 1 - and he's thrilled about being back at Priestfield.

“You never say never, but I have to say, I am quite surprised to be back,” he joked.

“I love the club and it’s in my blood. It always will be, whatever happens, but the main reason for coming back is to work with Peter.

“I had that year as player-coach with him, along with Steve Butler and I learned a lot then.

“I have so much respect for the guy and it is great to be working with him again.”

Forty-eight-year-old Hessenthaler first joined the Gills as a player in 1996 and went onto gain legendary status at the club. He was a player-coach under Taylor at the Gills during the successful 1999/2000 season when the club enjoyed promotion to Division 1.

Two spells as manager at Gills followed for Hessenthaler, initially enjoying success, as he led the club to their highest ever Football League finish.

Hessenthaler’s second management spell, in League 2, saw the Gills twice finish in eighth and twice miss the play-offs, costing him his job. He spent the following season working as director of football.

He and Taylor have a long history of working together, with Hessenthaler also playing under the Gills boss while at Hull. Taylor was also assistant manager at Watford when he was plucked from non-league Redbridge Forest.

Prior to that, the pair had enjoyed time together at Dartford in the mid-80s, as Taylor began his management journey and Hessenthaler his playing career. Both have been close ever since.

Taylor said: “He is someone I know exceptionally well, through playing and of course managing and I am really pleased he is back."

Hessenthaler coached at the Soccer Elite Academy last season - where he will continue to work - but he will leave his role as a scout at newly-promoted Burnley.

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