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Born: Dart­ford, 1965 (Age 49) Play­ing Ca­reer: A com­bat­ive mid­fielder, Hessen­thaler joined Charl­ton at the age of 18 but was re­leased with mak­ing an ap­pear­ance and sub­se­quently played part-time for Corinthian, Dart­ford and then Red­bridge For­est, where he won the Isth­mian League ti­tle in 1991. Signed by Sec­ond Di­vi­sion Wat­ford for £60,000 in 1991, Hessen­thaler spent five years at Vicarage Road, scor­ing 14 goals in 217 games. Fol­low­ing rel­e­ga­tion from the sec­ond tier in 1996, he joined Gilling­ham for a club-record fee of £250,000 and would re­main there for a decade. Though fa­mously beaten by Man City in the League One play-off fi­nal of 1999, Hessen­thaler skip­pered the side to pro­mo­tion the fol­low­ing sea­son and im­me­di­ately be­came player-manager. By the time he de­parted aged 40 in 2006, Hessen­thaler had made 360 ap­pear­ances and be­come the old­est player ever to rep­re­sent Gills. Determined to play on, Hessen­thaler spent a fur­ther two years with Bar­net in League Two and made 30 ap­pear­ances for Dart­ford in the 200708 sea­son be­fore re­tir­ing in 2010 at the age of 44. Man­age­rial Ca­reer: Ap­pointed player-manager of Gills in 2000 fol­low­ing pro­mo­tion to the Cham­pi­onship (and the sub­se­quent de­par­ture of Peter Tay­lor), Hessen­thaler kept the Kent side in midtable three years run­ning and in 2002-03 sealed a best-ever fin­ish of 11th. How­ever, when a rel­e­ga­tion near miss was fol­lowed by a poor start to the 2004-05 sea­son, Hessen­thaler re­signed. His next post came at Dover in 2007 and brought im­me­di­ate suc­cess with pro­mo­tion from Ry­man Di­vi­sion One South to Con­fer­ence South in suc­ces­sive sea­sons. He then led the Whites to a play-off de­feat to Wok­ing in 2010 be­fore resigning. Hessen­thaler re­turned to Pri­est­field in 2010, but was sacked in 2012 af­ter twice fail­ing to reach the League Two play-offs. Af­ter work­ing as a direc­tor at Gills and scout for Burn­ley, he once more re­turned to Gilling­ham as No.2 to Peter Tay­lor and in De­cem­ber 2014 be­came care­tak­er­man­ager.

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