Sidmouth Town appoint Josh Stunnel to the Manstone Lane hot seat.

PUBLISHED: 07:36 06 June 2014 | UPDATED: 07:36 06 June 2014

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Sidmouth Town will have a new man at the helm when the players begin the 2014/15 South West Peninsula league season, writes Steve Birley.

The Vikings have appointed former Seaton Town boss Josh Stunell to the Manstone Lane hot seat.

Stunell left Seaton Town last summer having taken the club mighty close to winning the Fresha League Premier Division title.

Since then he has kept his eye well and truly on the ball by continuing to manage the Fresha League Representative team which competes in the Football Association national leagues KO Cup.

Stunell will be assisted at Town by John Clement who is also his number two with the Fresha League XI.

Stunell says of his decision to return top club management: “The time and certainly the club were right! I have been speaking to a number of clubs and indeed weighing up my options. I enjoyed my break from club management for I felt it was something I needed to recharge my batteries and prepare myself for the next project. I must say I was so impressed with the folk at Manstone Lane that it quickly become clear that they, to an individual, want the same thing as me. I saw a group of like minded, honest and hard working football folk who want the very best for their club. The management committee can rest assured that they are taking on someone who will work just as hard as they have clearly been doing. John (Clement) and I had, at various times last year, seen six or seven of the teams games and I always felt they were not that far off being a very useful side. Clearly there are a number of changes that need to be made, but it is now very much a case of all the players at the club having an opportunity to show us what they are made of. I have an open mind as to all things football and I am always keen to hear views and take on board what others think. I do like to play a particular way and that’s the way forward for Town under my stewardship. We’ll get the ball down and play neat tidy football. The surface at Manstone Lane is certainly conducive to a passing game and that’ll be what we will be looking to play. There are players we’d like to get on board of course, but as I have already said, every player currently with the club is going to get a chance to show what they can do. Hand on heart I’d probably say, based on what I saw last year, the team needs an influx of four players. We have targets, no names as yet, but in the fullness of time all will be revealed. I am confident that we will be ready for the first competitive game of the new season.”

Town announced the appointment in a statement issued earlier this week that read: “

Sidmouth Town have announced the appointment of a new manager for the coming 2014/15 season. Josh Stunell, former successful manager at Seaton Town emerged as the club’s choice from a list of strong candidates who expressed an interest in the job. Josh will be joined in the dugout by his colleague, long time mentor and assistant John Clement, where their task will be to strengthen the team and push the Vikings further up the Carlsberg SW Peninsula East Division.”

The statement continued: “Paddy Thomas tendered his resignation following a season in which he himself felt that the team had under-achieved. Paddy has been with us for three seasons and despite all his efforts and football experience the team remained in or around the bottom half of the table. It was felt that the club needed a change of management and a fresh start. Paddy goes with our thanks and good wishes. Josh’s first priority is to review the squad of promising and experienced current players, look where he needs to strengthen and how best to blend these into a winning side. The Club intends to field a third team in the Devon and Exeter League next season and this, together with the club’s second team will provide opportunities for player development and match day experience. Pre-season training sessions and friendly matches will form part of the preparations for next season and players can expect a high standard of club facilities and the chance to shine on the best prepared playing surface in the county. To all our members and supporters we urge you to get behind the new management team and support the Vikings at Manstone Lane and when they travel away from home.”

The final word for now goes to new boss Stunell who says: “The hard work starts now to making sure everything is in place for us to be able to hit the ground running in August. Town followers can be sure the commitment from the playing side is going to be absolute and I am hopeful we can have some good times together.”

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