HAWKS HAIL THE RE­TURN OF THE KING

The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS - By Jon Couch

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.”

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