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Maidstone United head coach Hakan Hayrettin ready to face old club Braintree

By Craig Tucker

Hakan Hayrettin has no regrets at leaving Braintree for Maidstone as he prepares to face his old club.

The sides meet at the Gallagher tomorrow (Good Friday) three months after Hayrettin quit the Iron to link up with his old mentor John Still.

It caused a stir at the time and while both clubs have been relegated from the National League, Hayrettin knows he made the right decision.

Hakan Hayrettin with John Still Picture: Andy Jones
Hakan Hayrettin with John Still Picture: Andy Jones

The Stones head coach, whose side will move off the bottom if they win, said: "It doesn't bother me if I get any stick.

"My team's Maidstone and we just want to play well and win and we want the supporters to enjoy watching us.

"I was my own man there but I made a decision I thought was right for me and my career and I don't regret it for one minute, coming to work for a fantastic football club like Maidstone and working with John again was the icing on the cake.

"I've known John since I was a kid, I played for John and one of my biggest regrets was that I didn't get to play for him a lot more.

"But on the back of playing for him I got to play for Wycombe and play at Wembley twice, I won the Conference, played in the Football League, got promotion there as well, so I owe a lot to him.

"I kept in touch and every time I needed bits of advice I'd go to him and I'd watch his training sessions and try and pick his brains and nothing's changed.

"When we're in the office I think that's the best part of the job for me because I learn so much.

"He makes me laugh, I make him laugh and he's taught me that every day, you've got to laugh, whatever happens."

Still took Hayrettin to Luton as first-team coach as the Hatters won promotion to the Football League five years ago.

John Still asked Hakan Hayrettin to join him at Maidstone Picture: Andy Jones
John Still asked Hakan Hayrettin to join him at Maidstone Picture: Andy Jones

He knew he was the man for the job at Maidstone.

Still said: "When Hak first came and worked with me at Luton it was a special time and I think the bond got closer because I have a way of doing it and I can't do a quick fix.

"I say to clubs, and I said it to Luton, if you want a quick fix, get someone else because I can't guarantee quick fixes.

"I just have a path I follow and I'm never going to change it because, by and large, it's always worked for me.

"And when the contact came from Maidstone I said I don't want to do it completely full-time, I'll bring someone with me who believes in what I do, who can work with me and he can do more and more.

"I'll always be around it and support it but I believe because he's worked with me and he knows how we need to do it, I thought it was a good thing for the club and a good thing for him.

"As disappointing as it's been to go down, that's not the end of the story, I know it's not. This is the start of the story, not the end."

Maidstone visit Sutton on Easter Monday.

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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