Richard Wilkins departs as Needham Market boss

Richard Wilkins

Richard Wilkins - Credit: Archant

Needham Market have parted company with manager Richard Wilkins.

The former Colchester United defender and former manager of Leiston and Bury Town had been at the helm for two-and-a-half seasons. Academy manager Kevin Horlock has taken over first team duties.

In a statement on the club's website, Needham Market said.

"Moving forward we are delighted to announce Kevin Horlock as first team manager. Kevin brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge and will continue with his role as Academy Manager. Kevin was the catalyst to the Reserves' good form in the last 12 games of last season and has continued this into the current season. He will aim to bring an exciting style of football to Bloomfields and provide key talented Academy players greater opportunities within the first team.

"Kevin's role within the Academy will not be affected by the appointment, he will continue to oversee all football provision within the Academy and team selections for teams that play within Academy. Kevin will also work closely with Operations & Academy Director Robert Peace to establish a whole club approach within all junior and female teams."

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Graham Emmerson, Chief Executive said: "Richard has been a pleasure to work with and he is completely professional in the way that he conducts himself and the manner in which he represents the Club. This has been a very difficult decision but the overriding consideration has to be what is best for the Club and who is best equipped to integrate some of the exceptional talent that is currently in our Academy into the first team. We wish Richard all the very best for the future and thank him sincerely for the hard work in establishing us as a Level 3 club "

Keith Nunn, Club Chairman, says "Wilks is an excellent manager with a detailed knowledge of the non-league game and has had a great three seasons as First Team manager since replacing Mark Morsely back in 2017. Despite an inconsistent set of results so far this season he has stabilised the club at Step 3 with the last three league victories and he has built a squad that is undoubtedly the strongest in the county. However, we feel it is time for a change and appointing Kevin Horlock at this time shows our intent in moving forward."

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Robert Peace, Operations & Academy Director says "I would like to thank Richard for his hard work stabilising Needham Market FC at step 3 but Kevin's appointment is great news for the club and the Academy. As Academy Manager he is best placed to make decisions on which of our Academy players can progress into the first team. The appointment will strengthen the pathway and show a clear route from the Academy to first team and potentially beyond if players have the ability and desire."

On his appointment, Kevin Horlock says "This is an opportunity that has arisen sooner than I thought but one that I was always interested in taking. I am in a privileged position taking over a squad that is full of good players and a number of Academy players ready to take that step up.

"I see my job as continuing the good work Richard Wilkins has done to strengthen the pathway from the Academy to the first team while achieving success on and off the pitch."

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