Former Eastbourne United Association Football Club chairman Billy Wood has joined Hastings United as Chief Executive Officer - and he believes the club is a 'sleeping giant'.
Wood, a music business executive and hometown local, revitalised Eastbourne United AFC as chairman of their committee before resigning on Tuesday evening.
The statement from Hastings United said: "Under his reign the club improved their facilities, strengthened their branding and image, and made shrewd movements in their committee that enhanced the administrative side of the business.
"Wood appointed former United player Arron Hopkinson when the club was 14 points adrift at the bottom of the Southern Combination Premier Division table with less than four months of the season to play. The changes led to Eastbourne United surviving relegation on the last day of the season in what was considered by the Eastbourne Herald as ‘the greatest escape in Eastbourne football history’.
"Wood’s skills are welcomed at Hastings United as we look to take the club forward in all departments."
Wood on his appointment: “I am thrilled to in a sense be home. Hastings has been my home since I was a young boy, my friends and family are all here and to be given the opportunity to drive my hometown club forward as CEO is something I couldn’t turn down.
"Hastings United in my eyes is a sleeping giant and with its geographical reach has potential unlike any other club in East Sussex. I am an ambitious, 'heart on the sleeve' sort of character who feels this club can achieve huge things, however we have to get the fundamentals right in all departments to manage the growth of this football club.
"I have many times stood at the Pilot Field or sat in the main stand and imagined what I would do if I was involved in the club, and the dream is now a reality at the right time for all parties. I am looking forward to working with the board and such as the academy and volunteers, and getting to know the supporters of this great club. I want Hastings United to be the staple of our town and continue to engage with our community to make sure that’s more of a reality. I cannot wait to attend my first game as CEO.
With Billy Wood’s appointment, David Nessling will continue in the role of Chairman focusing on delivering important elements for the future sustainability of Hastings United inclùding the brand new stadium complex at Tilekiln.
Major Shareholder Daren Burney on the appointment of Wood: "The chairman and I looked long and hard at who we could bring in to add enthusiasm and vitality to the Club and Board and Billy was the stand out candidate to deal with day-to-day management of the football club, and also oversee the club’s strategy in commercial activities, club profile and branding, merchandising, website and social media matters.
"We have a huge amount of work coming up to deliver the new stadium and take the Club forward in terms of Academy, commercial activity and community standing and feel Billy’s arrival will be a vital part of this. He shares the same drive and ambition that The Chairman and Board have."
Billy Wood is installed with immediate effect and would like to host a Q&A with the Chairman for the Hastings United fans this Friday 7pm at The Pilot Bar.