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Daryl McMahon ready for return to management

Dagenham & Redbridge Daryl McMahon

By Matt Badcock

Daryl McMahon has had enough of life outside the management pressure cooker already.

The 35-year-old made a shock departure from Ebbsfleet United last month after three-and-a-half years at the helm.

The former Leyton Orient, Eastleigh and Dover Athletic midfielder retired from playing aged 31 to take charge of the Fleet when they were in the Conference South.

With a reputation for playing attractive football, his three full seasons can be deemed a success with a 57 per cent win record in all competitions.

Fleet were beaten on penalties by Maidstone in the play-off final in his first full campaign before they triumphed against Chelmsford City in year two.

Last season, Ebbsfleet gatecrashed the National League play-offs and, after beating Aldershot Town in the Eliminator, took Tranmere Rovers to extra-time in the semis despite an injury-ravaged team.

Hopes were high this season but the Kent club announced a restructure in November, players were made available for transfer, McMahon lost his assistant Steve Gritt and, eventually, it led to his own exit with Garry Hill appointed as his replacement.


Having had time with his family and an opportunity to reflect on his first shot at management, the Dubliner is ready to jump back in quickly.

“I’ve had that time away doing things you don’t have the time to do when you’re working,” he told The NLP. “It was nice taking the kids to New York and around Central Park, we took them to see Ground Zero and also went to Disneyland Paris – the little ‘uns now think Mickey Mouse is their best mate!

“But it’s like anything, I want to be back in work straightaway and I’m looking to get back in at the soonest opportunity.

“You don’t really have time to reflect on anything you’ve done. Even in the summer, you’re working, signing players, negotiating with players, sorting out pre-season, scouting the new teams in the division.

“It’s four weeks since I’ve left Ebbsfleet and you can actually look at the things you’ve done well and the things you need to do better at.

“It’s been a fantastic three years – in my first full three seasons we’ve won promotion and had two years in the play-offs.


“Last season to get in the play-offs was a great achievement in our first year and I’ve got no doubt we would have done it again this year – I’m sure the team if it’s kept together will achieve good things because it’s a great group there.”

McMahon surely won’t be without suitors and he was shortlisted by the bookies for the vacancies at Wrexham, Hartlepool United and League Two Cambridge United.

Wherever his next appointment takes him, McMahon believes his time at Ebbsfleet has set him up to succeed and cope with the pressures again.

“It’s been a great apprenticeship for me, a great eye-opener, and something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed,” he said.

“Obviously I took my boots off and put a suit on aged 31. I was green and new into it, but I’ve really enjoyed it and learnt a lot in lots of different situations.

“You go into it and try to do the best you can, try to implement your ideas and you’ve got to work hard. Any manager at any level, you’re 24-7 – that’s the nature of the job.

“I was given a good opportunity at Ebbsfleet – I’m sure a lot of people would have liked to have had the job when I got it but I think I dealt well with the pressure of that.

“I knew every time we drew or lost somebody was over my shoulder. I enjoyed that pressure and I’m looking to take that forward again.”

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