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Herne Bay name ex-Canterbury City boss Ben Smith as new manager

Herne Bay FC have unveiled former Canterbury City boss Ben Smith as their new manager following the surprise departure of Nick Gearing.

Gearing released a statement on Saturday detailing his removal less than a month since taking charge due to the arrival of a new consortium at the club.

Smith is now set to return to a head coaching position having been sacked by Canterbury towards the end of April on the back of comments made in the Kentish Gazette.

Nick Gearing
Nick Gearing

Gearing was informed of the club's decision to replace him on Friday night having been yet to meet with the new consortium, expressing his disappointment over the 'dishonesty of the situation'.

The former Gillingham and Leyton Orient coach had evidently been busy behind the scenes lining up a number of new signings, alongside demonstrating a dedication to enhancing Bay's appeal to existing and new supporters.

He stated: "Along with Chris Woollcott and Nicky Lewis, we have managed to cut last season's playing budget in half and bring in players that were better than the previous squad and, along with our playing style, I firmly believe would have been capable of reaching the play-offs. These players include some of the current best in the league and an ex-pro, but again this is something Herne Bay FC may miss out on having not even re-interviewed me for the role.

"I know for sure that my experience would have been invaluable to professionalise a club that clearly needs it in every department, from what happens on the pitch to the social media and fan engagement which has not fulfilled its potential."

Smith enjoyed a largely successful campaign with Canterbury, leading the club to within touching distance of a trip to Wembley as they were beaten in their FA Vase semi-final against Cray Valley.

He was later dismissed from his role after referring to K Sports as a 'decent pub side' as well as considering how Cray sealing promotion might boost Canterbury's chances of going up in 2019/2020 ahead of their Southern Counties East Football League fixture.

The decision proved divisive among both supporters and players, with the latter releasing a statement in response calling for his immediate re-instatement.

This was then followed by the club cancelling its final game of the season against Bearsted as well as Martyn Sexton, now of Herne Bay, standing down from his role as secretary.

Smith, who previously served as Bay's under-18s manager, will be assisted by Tim Dixon and Ben Brown in his new post.

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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