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Former Gillingham head coach named new head coach of League 2 Barrow just 32 days after being sacked at Priestfield

Former Gillingham boss Stephen Clemence is back in football – just 32 days after being sacked.

Clemence has been appointed head coach of League 2 Barrow so is likely get a quick chance to go head-to-head against the man who replaced him at Priestfield, new Gillingham boss Mark Bonner.

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence was in charge at Priestfield for 180 days. Now he’s taken over at League 2 Barrow. Picture: @Julian_KPI
Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence was in charge at Priestfield for 180 days. Now he’s taken over at League 2 Barrow. Picture: @Julian_KPI

The 46-year-old only joined the Gills as head coach in November 2023, as the permanent replacement for Neil Harris, who was also surprisingly sacked himself when well-placed in League 2.

Gillingham finished 12th under Clemence’s charge last season as he was unable to meet the club’s desire to finish in the play-off places. The Gills parted ways with him just days after the season finished.

Earlier this month, Clemence said about his time at Priestfield: “As the club stated in its official statement, we have worked hard to improve performances and the style of play.

“I am disappointed to have left my position, as I feel certain that the improvements we’ve made, coupled with positive recruitment this summer, would have delivered greater consistency and ultimately the success that we all wanted.

“I would like to personally thank my assistant, Robbie Stockdale, for his hard work and support, as well as my backroom staff. Your commitment and determination did not go unnoticed. I’ve enjoyed working with you all.

“I would also like to thank the players for their dedication. They understood what we were trying to achieve and the methods we were using to do this.

“It has been a pleasure to be your head coach and I wish you all every success going forward.”

Clemence has now signed a two-year deal as Barrow’s new head coach.

In their statement, Barrow said: “After over a decade of coaching experience behind him, Clemence secured his first Managerial role when he took over the reins at Gillingham in November 2023.

“During his spell with The Gills, performances drastically improved as the Kent-based side played some lovely football, but despite a top-half finish, he was relieved of his duties at the end of the 2023-2024 season.

“Following an extensive hiring process, we’re now delighted to announce Clemence as the new Head Coach at the SO Legal Stadium.”

Barrow’s move comes just a week after they parted company with manager Pete Wild, who guided them to eighth place, missing out on the play-offs by just one point after drawing with Mansfield on the final day of the season.

The club said earlier this month: “Following a post-season review Barrow AFC can confirm that it has today parted company with their manager Pete Wild.

“It became apparent during the review that the Club and Pete had different perspectives on the way forward, so it was mutually agreed that this was the best and most appropriate way to proceed.”

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