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New Sittingbourne manager Darren Blackburn says it's an honour to be in charge

Darren Blackburn would love to stay on at Sittingbourne next season.

Blackburn is in charge initially for the final nine games of the Isthmian South East campaign following Chris Lynch’s resignation last week.

Darren Blackburn has taken over from Chris Lynch at Sittingbourne Picture: Steve Crispe
Darren Blackburn has taken over from Chris Lynch at Sittingbourne Picture: Steve Crispe

Lynch called time after a 3-0 defeat by Sevenoaks – their ninth loss in a row – with assistant boss Blackburn stepping up to take charge.

“The chairman offered me the position and I took it straight away, there was no hesitation,” said the former Hollands & Blair manager.

“It’s a great club, everyone is so helpful, from the groundsman to the youth committee.

“The nine games is more of a getting-to-know-you thing.

“My remit is to put smiles back on faces and see the team committed and enjoying themselves, they’ve not said you need to get this amount of points.

“The board have been good as gold and, all being well, I’d love to stay on next season.

“I like everything about the club. I feel really lucky that I’m at another local club that’s got the same qualities as my previous one.

“Sometimes you go into a club and the environment or the atmosphere doesn’t feel quite right but everything about Sittingbourne is well-suited.

“I enjoy it here, I like the people, the board are great and that crazy, loud bunch of fans are fantastic.

“It’s an honour to be the manager. I’m really proud to lead the team over the next nine games and hopefully beyond.”

Blackburn joined Sittingbourne as first-team coach under Lynch last summer, becoming assistant manager after Nathan Elder departed for Hythe.

He’s grateful to the former Brickies boss for taking him to Woodstock in the first place.

Darren Blackburn is the new man in charge at Sittingbourne Picture: Steve Crispe
Darren Blackburn is the new man in charge at Sittingbourne Picture: Steve Crispe

Blackburn said: “I thank Chris for giving me an opportunity as his No.2.

“Without that, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now.

“I wish Chris well for the future and every success in whatever he does next.”

Blackburn, who has named Gillingham academy coach Darren Pont as his No.2, might look to add some experience to a young squad.

But with no threat of relegation, he won’t make signings for the sake of it.

Blackburn said: “It might just be a case of bringing in a couple of experienced heads, just to settle things down.

“If we were in a relegation battle I might be a bit more active in terms of trying to bring people in but there’s no point wasting club funds – that just has a detrimental effect.

“We’ll be sensible but I want to put on record that the budget hasn’t been cut. The board have been very supportive all season.”

Last weekend’s Isthmian League programme was postponed due to coronavirus fears, with Brickies due to host Chichester City.

It meant Blackburn’s first game in charge could have been this Saturday’s scheduled Swale derby at home to Faversham.

But that game has now been postponed, along with all matches for the foreseeable future.

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