Cray Wanderers have confirmed that Neil Smith will be staying on as manager in a full-time role.
The Isthmian Premier side turned to Smith in a bid to avoid relegation with six games remaining, becoming their third manager of the season, after both Danny Kedwell and Grant Basey previously had time in charge.
In those six games Smith picked up four points, including a crucial 4-1 win over relegation rivals East Thurrock United, which was enough to see them finish the season fourth from bottom on goal difference and outside of the relegation places.
It’s the first time the club have had a full-time manager in charge, with Smith agreeing a two-year contract.
His number one task is to rebuild the playing squad after a tough 2021/22 campaign while also developing the club’s academy.
A club statement said: “We are delighted to have someone as experienced as Neil as manager who achieved great things at Bromley FC and will hope to replicate that success with Cray Wanderers.”
Smith was linked to the management position at Gillingham, where he enjoyed success as a player, as well as Welling United earlier in the season. His assistant at Cray Wanderers is Tim O’Shea.
Speaking to the club’s website, he said: “I don’t just want to be a manager, I want to try to build the club from the bottom up.
“This was something I wanted to do while I was at Bromley and we succeeded and this is exactly what I want to do now at Cray. I want to build the club in the community, I want the supporters to be proud of coming along and seeing the players give their all every week and hopefully with that building process we have some fun and enjoy winning games.”
He added: “I’ve signed for the future of the club because the potential and the project is so exciting.
“Growing a club, moving into a new stadium and home it really excites me, hopefully creating a new fan base and supporters coming through the doors, playing attacking football. Starting from scratch, we have a base to start from, I want it to grow and when I leave, whenever that may be, Cray Wanderers will be in a better position than when I arrived.”