Hastings United Football Club assistant manager Steve Watt has been named manager of higher grade Margate this afternoon (Friday).
Margate, who play two levels above United in National League South, are reporting on their website that Watt has been appointed until the end of the season.
A statement at www.margate-fc.co.uk read: “Chairman Alistair Bayliss was tasked last night to find a replacement (for previous boss Nikki Bull) and contacted Hastings United manager Darren Hare this morning to ask for his permission to speak to Steven.
“Darren was very gracious and understanding that this as an opportunity too big for Steven to turn down and he joins us with his blessing.
“We would like to thank all at Hastings United for their cooperation and wish them well for the remainder of the season.”
Watt, who will bring in Mike Sandmann as first team coach, takes charge of a Margate side which is five points adrift at the foot of the table and nine from safety having lost its last 16 league matches.
The 31-year-old, who has made a number of appearances for United this season as a player, began his career with Chelsea, making his debut against Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup in January 2005 and his Premier League debut against Newcastle United four months later.
Watt, originally from Scotland, went on to play for the likes of Swansea City, Ross County, Grimsby Town, Dover Athletic, Maidstone United and Leatherhead before arriving at United as Hare’s number two last summer.
A statement on United’s website read: “Manager Darren Hare received a phone call from Margate FC asking for permission to speak to Steve over their managerial vacancy.
“Steve was not on contract with Hastings United FC, and after discussions between Darren and the club, it was agreed Margate FC should be allowed to speak to Steve.”
Watt departs with United having surged into the Ryman Football League Division One South play-off places via a run of five consecutive wins and clean sheets, the latest of which was a tremendous 5-0 victory at home to Carshalton Athletic on Tuesday night.
Hare told the club website: “Steve has been instrumental in where we’ve got to this season and been a good ambassador both on the pitch but mainly in the dressing room and coaching. He will be a loss and we’ve been a good partnership.
“Having said that, we are a galvanised group and the players are smelling success, and we believe we’ve got the expertise on and off the field to finish the job. Timing is bad, but it was too good of an opportunity to turn down. He goes with our best wishes and our thanks.”
Hastings United FC would like to thank Watt for his efforts and wish him well for the future. United will host Chatham Town tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.
See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!