Exclusive by Alex Hoad
Maidstone boss Jay Saunders says he is thrilled to have appointed an assistant manager in the form of non-league stalwart Steve Ward.
Commanding defender Ward, 41, has enjoyed an illustrious non-league career spanning 23 years in Essex and also won England C recognition, the Ryman League, Premier Division title and the FA Trophy.
The centre-back started off with Grays and, after making his first-team debut in 1989, made more than 400 first team appearances before spending 12 years with Canvey Island in two spells, making more than 500 appearances, with four years at Chelmsford in between.
Ward lives in Sandling and is a long-time supporter of his hometown club, while also working as a PE teacher in Gravesend.
Ward played 21 times for Canvey last season and has signed player registration forms with the Stones, in addition to his dugout duties.
Saunders (pictured) said: "I’ve been chasing Steve for some time and I’m thrilled to have him as part of my backroom team.
"As well as being in the dugout, I’ll also have the option of using him as a player if necessary. Steve is fit and still keen to play.
"Steve was keen to join Maidstone United as it is his hometown club. He lives in the town and works locally so for him it is the perfect club for him to join after finally leaving Canvey."