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New Margate manager Andy Drury speaks on his appointment and his departure from Whitstable Town


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Andy Drury says the opportunity to manage a higher-league club was too good to turn down - revealing he got the Margate manager’s role at the second time of asking.

Drury was appointed as Jay Saunders’ successor at Isthmian Premier Margate, just hours after Saunders had been appointed as the new boss of National League South Tonbridge on Monday.

Andy Drury on the ball for Whitstable in their last game of the season. He will start next term as Margate manager. Picture: Les Biggs
Andy Drury on the ball for Whitstable in their last game of the season. He will start next term as Margate manager. Picture: Les Biggs

Saunders had been in charge at Hartsdown Park since 2019 and former Football League midfielder Drury revealed he held talks about taking the Gate hot-seat prior to Saunders’ appointment.

But fast forward three years and Drury has left Whitstable following their relegation from Isthmian South East to link up with Velocity Trophy finalists Margate who finished eighth in the table.

The 38-year-old revealed: “I had discussions with them before Jay took the job a couple of years ago.

“Hopefully they were suitably impressed by me back then. Yes, I was surprised [to get the Gate job] but it’s a nice surprise and I believe in myself as a manager.

“Hopefully, over the next six weeks, I can build a decent team and we can have a successful season.”

Andy Drury playing for Cray Wanderers last season in the FA Trophy against Dartford. Picture: Keith Gillard
Andy Drury playing for Cray Wanderers last season in the FA Trophy against Dartford. Picture: Keith Gillard

When asked if it had been a tough call to leave Whitstable as they return to the Southern Counties East Premier for the 2022/23 campaign, Drury replied: “In some ways, yes, in some ways, no.

“It’s an opportunity to manage two leagues higher.

“Whitstable is a lovely club but it was just an opportunity I couldn’t turn down to manage a club like Margate.”

He said he had learnt a lot in his spell at the Belmont.

"I learnt quite a bit in that spell," he admitted.

"I learnt what you need to do to be successful - and what not to do!

"It was a good opportunity for me to go in there and try and save them from relegation. We came up just short but it was a learning curve and that's part of life, really."

Drury, who is no stranger to Step 3 football having last term been Cray Wanderers player-assistant manager and played for Folkestone, explained just how quickly things had moved as Saunders left Margate and he was appointed.

He commented: “I got the call on Monday and it was all sorted pretty quickly. I’m really delighted to be Margate manager now.

“Obviously, Jay got the Tonbridge job and then I got the phone call that Margate wanted to speak to me. We had a chat and it was pretty much agreed there and then, and all announced by around 10pm.

"Jay has done a really good job to steady the ship, he has got them going in the right direction. It’s up to me to keep it going and to see if we can kick it onto another level.

“I’m just very proud to be manager of Margate Football Club. It wasn't that long ago the club were playing at the top level in non-league.”

Drury finished last season playing - as well as managing - the Oystermen but is still unsure whether he’ll play on next term.

“I have not even given it too much thought, really. I will just try and sort out pre-season first,” he stated.

“Hopefully I will not have to play! But we will see over the next six weeks.”

Lloyd Blackman, himself an ex-Whitstable manager, had worked as Saunders’ No.2 last season but Drury admits he needs to have conversations with his backroom staff and the squad he inherits before he makes final decisions on their futures.

He said: “I have spoken to a few but a lot of them work so I need to speak to them properly before making any kind of decision, really.

“Obviously, there will be changes. I have got to ring around the squad to see who is staying.

“I will probably have more of an idea in the next couple of days.”

But midfielder Benas Vaivada has announced on Twitter he's left the club.

He wrote: "It's been a pleasure.

"Thanks to everyone at the club for making me feel welcome, excited for the next chapter."

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