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Simon Halsey is the new manager of Hollands & Blair

By Craig Tucker

Hollands & Blair have named Simon Halsey as their new manager.

Blair made the announcement after clinching Southern Counties East survival with a 3-0 win over Rusthall yesterday.

Halsey won Blair's league - then known as the Kent League - with Herne Bay in 2012 and has also managed Whitstable and Lordswood.

Simon Halsey is the new manager of Hollands & Blair Picture: Tony Flashman
Simon Halsey is the new manager of Hollands & Blair Picture: Tony Flashman

The Medway man was among 12 applicants to succeed Darren Blackburn, whittled down to a shortlist of four.

He'll take charge at the end of the campaign with joint-chairman and caretaker boss Paul Piggott overseeing the final two games before handing over the reins.

Piggott said: "The calibre of applicants was decent. We were surprised in one breath but not in another because we're not little old Hollands & Blair any more.

"We're a Southern Counties East club and plenty of people want to manage at this level.

"The last couple of seasons have been difficult and we wanted to make sure we made the right appointment.

"Simon's been a manager a long time, I've known him a long time, he's a local man and his track record speaks for itself.

"He's achieved a lot - not so much recently - but his CV is decent and we felt he was the man to take our club forward.

"We whittled it down to four candidates and it could have been any one of them but we had to make a decision and Simon's track record and the fact he's a local man swung it.

"We wanted to wait until we were safe before making an announcement. We only told Simon yesterday."

Paul Piggott is confident Simon Halsey is the right man for Hollands & Blair Picture: Steve Crispe
Paul Piggott is confident Simon Halsey is the right man for Hollands & Blair Picture: Steve Crispe

Blair finished runners-up under Piggott in 2016 and eighth the following season with Bryan Greenfield in charge but they've been battling relegation for the past two years.

Piggott stepped in to save them this season after Blackburn resigned and feels the platform is there for Halsey to establish the club in Southern Counties East.

He said: "People take being at this level for granted and think it's easy - but it isn't.

"You need a sound base for your club and you need your manager to be spending more than one season in charge.

"Since I stepped down the first time we've had four different managers in three years, which isn't good for any club.

"There's been a big turnover of players but I think the current crop is a very good squad for Simon to pick and choose from.

"He'll watch the next couple of games and he can see what he wants from that.

"It's his decision, he's the manager, but my own personal opinion is we probably only need three or four new faces.

"That'll be down to him. As soon as the season finishes, it's Simon's show."

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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