HAWKS HAIL THE RETURN OF THE KING
STEVE KING has completed one unlikely rescue mission at Whitehawk – now he’s ready to do it all again.
The popular boss was forced to win over 50 per cent of his games to keep the Hawks in the Conference South after taking over as boss in January 2014.
And he’ll need to achieve a similar ratio to repeat the feat this time round after reclaiming the manager’s reins from caretaker Dan Harding and signing a three-year contract at the Enclosed Ground this week.
The Hawks are in desperate trouble at the foot of the National League South table with just two points to show from their opening 11 games.
But by reaching two play-off finals and finishing in each of the first five places in the division with the likes of Farnborough, Lewes and Whitehawk, King has proved himself as the master of the great escape and, statistically, has earned the tag as the most successful manager in the history of the Conference South.
“I’ve saved them once and the aim is now to save them again,” King told
The NLP. “Let’s not beat around the bush, at the moment the team is in a terrible state, it needs major surgery. But I’m more than confident I can turn things around. There will need to be radical changes and those are already underway, but there are still 90 points to play for so we’ll keep fighting.”
King has spent the last year working under John Still as Head of Recruitment at Dagenham & Redbridge but admitted the lure of getting back into management was too much to turn down.
“It was a tough decision [to return to Whitehawk] if I’m honest,” he added. “I was really enjoying myself at Dagenham, working with good people and things were going well.
“The offer came as a bolt from the blue but I was immediately interested as management is in my blood. It’s what I do and I really miss being in the dugout.
“I’ve had a couple of operations in my year off, and received plenty of job offers but they just haven’t been right for me at the time. I feel this is the right time for me and I can’t wait to get started.”
No fewer than SEVEN managers – or combination of managers – have taken charge at Whitehawk since King left the club in February 2016, while King is the FIFTH different manager to occupy the Enclosed Ground dug-out in 2017 alone.
But by signing a threeyear contract, King believes it shows a signal of a long-term commitment between club and manager.
A club statement read: “The owners felt that Steve was best placed to recruit the necessary players to keep the Hawks in the league.
“Long-term stability and growth were paramount in the negotiations, as well as ensuring that the club continue with their philosophy to develop the youth players who have been so successful over the past two seasons.
“Therefore the length of this contract demonstrates the commitment that both the club and Steve have for future growth and stability moving forward.”