Legend returns to dugout

By David Watters

Hastings United

Hastings United handed John Maggs the job of replacing Sean Ray at Pilot Field on Sunday.

The former Crawley Town, Horsham and Crawley Down Gatwick manager, pictured, takes charge of his first Ryman South fixture today (Monday) when the Arrows host Ramsgate.

Maggs was appointed with United flying high in second spot despite the surprise departure of player/manager Ray on the eve of the new campaign. Caretaking duo Terry White and Mark Stapley guided the Arrows to four wins and a draw from their opening five games and the club are hoping the pair will stay on to work alongside Maggs.

Maggs, who left his post as general manager at Conference South Tonbridge Angels to return to the dugout, hardly needs an introduction to Non-League fans after a playing and managerial career that has so far spanned more than fifty years. In March 2013 he was awarded a Football Association medal for his services to the game.

At the time, he was coming towards the end of a twelve month spell in charge at Crawley Down Gatwick who he left in May. He'd initially joined the Anvils as assistant manager in the summer of 2011, helping them reach the final of the Sussex Senior Cup for the first time.

In his playing days, Maggs an England schoolboys international keeper, joined Crawley Town in 1963 and went on to set the West Sussex side's all-time appearance record with over 700 to his credit. Seven years after retiring as a player, he stepped up to manage the Reds in 1987 and stayed at the helm for thirteen seasons, combining his duties with those of Chairman towards the end of his tenure.

After thirty-seven years at Town Mead, Maggs moved on to Horsham, where he spent the next eleven seasons, leading the Hornets to two promotions and the FA Cup's Second Round in 2007. Financial issues arising from the sale of the club's former Queen Street ground eventually led to Maggs' departure and the start of a two year spell at Crawley Down in the summer of 2011.

United's Chairman Dave Walters hailed the start of a new era at Pilot Field under one of the most experienced managers in the game and confirmed that the club are hoping both White and Stapley will stay on.

Walters said: "We are delighted to have secured the services of such an experienced and well respected manager as John, and are looking forward to working with him and to taking the club forward. Terry and Mark have done a great job in their caretaker capacity, for which we thank them sincerely, and we are hoping that both will stay on to work within the new set-up."

Where next?

Monday's Ryman Premier action review Ryman League Premier Division
Saturday's Ryman Premier action review Ryman League Premier Division

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