JACK PEARCE accepts the appointment of untried Sami El-Abd is a risk but feels it’s one that’s worth taking for Bognor Regis Town.
It’s been a strange summer for the Rocks, who were promoted to the National League South after defeating Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 in the Ryman Premier play-off final.
Manager Jamie Howell left to join Eastbourne Borough within days of celebrating their success and it’s taken nearly two months to discover who is taking over.
Bognor made their minds up last Wednesday and defender El-Abd will take up a player-manager role after impressing at interview.
General Manager Pearce says the Sussex club have their reasons for not going with experience and he promised to support the novice boss as the club gear up for their Step 2 return after eight long years away.
Pearce said: “You only have to look at the length of time first-time managers get to know it’s a precarious situation.
“The stats don’t really back up a player-manager at this level, their lifespan isn’t always the best but we’ve assessed things and feel Sami can buck the trend. It’s got its perils but we’ve got our reasons.”
“It’s a bit suck-it-and-see next season,” he added. “We’ve had a lot of success over the last few years and we know we’re stepping up to a really demanding level but we’ll be doing what we always do, giving it everything we’ve got.”
At the age of 29, El-Abd will be the youngest manager in all three National League divisions.
“We’re happy to support him,” said long-serving Pearce. “Many clubs get a top manager in with a great CV and it doesn’t work.
“What we wanted to do was keep the continuity. The squad had an incredible team spirit last season and maybe bringing someone in from the outside wouldn’t have been the best of ideas.
“Appointing from within was something we felt as a club we need to do. As long as Sami produces a disciplined team who pass the ball we’ll support him wholeheartedly.”
El-Abd, who will work alongside coaches Gary Charman and Darin Killpartrick, said: “We know the club and know how it operates. We can’t wait to get started.”