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AFC Varndeanians Appoint New Manager

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Southern Combination League Division One club AFC Varndeanians have appointed Kieran Ridley as their new first-team manager.

Ridley joins from Newhaven where he held the under-18 and under-21 managerial posts as well as a role within the first-team coaching staff.

In his time there, he oversaw an unbeaten league winning season for the under-18s as well as back-to-back league titles in the new under-21 divisions.

Just last season, he led his under-18 team to the County Cup final.

Aged just 25, Ridley will be one of the youngest managers in the Southern Combination League, but says is “isn’t fazed” by the challenge.

“I’m really excited to get going. I was happy at Newhaven so it was always going to take a really good club to tempt me away, and with the set-up AFC V’s have, there’s huge potential. It was also a massive compliment to be approached by a big club at such a young age, but that confidence in me was huge in my decision.

“Taking on a first-team job doesn’t worry me, I’ve worked as a reserve team manager with players older than me and we did well, and I’ve gained massive experience from being involved within the first-team set-up where I was. I’ve worked under two brilliant managers and I’m hoping to take everything I’ve learned from them and use it in my own way here.

“Having been an under-18 and under-21 manager, I’m really keen on development, I want young players to see AFC Varndeanians as somewhere they’ll get an opportunity. At the same time, we want to compete at the right end of the table. This league is extremely tough, but I know with the right set of lads who will work hard for each other, we can hopefully surprise a few people.”

Chairman Dave Bridges said: “Firstly I must thank Ryan Gayler for all his hard work over the last two seasons guiding us into senior status football. I wish him all the best with Burgess Hill Town under-21’s and our links with Ryan remain strong. I welcome Kieran to the club and I am excited for the coming season. Kieran has shown tremendous ability at progressing youth players, which is one of our core values, and integrating reserve and under-21’s with the Newhaven first-team. His age belies his experience and I am sure his appointment will strengthen the first team and the club in the years to come”.


About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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