Former Manchester City and West Ham United midfielder Kevin Horlock has stepped up to succeed Richard Wilkins at BetVictor Southern League Needham Market.
The Marketmen’s academy boss was confirmed as the Southern League Premier Division Central club’s new manager on Tuesday within hours of the departure of Wilkins after two and a half seasons at the helm.
Northern Ireland Under-21s assistant manager Horlock arrived at Bloomfields in June 2019 on a three year contract to take over the running of the academy and the reserves, a post he’d previously held when the academy opened back in 2012.
— Needham Market FC (@NMFCTWEETS) February 4, 2020
The former Ipswich Town, Swindon Town, West Ham United, Ipswich Town, Doncaster Rovers and Mansfield Town star is looking forward to doubling up and making a success of both roles over the remainder of the season.
He told the club’s website: “This is an opportunity that has arisen sooner than I thought, but one that I was always interested in taking.
“I am in a privileged position taking over a squad that is full of good players and a number of academy players ready to take that step up.
“I see my job as continuing the good work Richard Wilkins has done to strengthen the pathway from the academy to the first team while achieving success on and off the pitch.”
A statement from the Marketmen read: “We are delighted to announce Kevin Horlock as first team manager.
“Kevin brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge and will continue with his role as academy manager. Kevin was the catalyst to the Reserves’ good form in the past year.
“Kevin will aim to bring an exciting style of football to Bloomfields and provide key talented Academy players greater opportunities within the first team.
“Kevin’s role within the academy will not be affected, he will continue to oversee all football provision within the academy.”
Now 47, Horlock hung up his playing boots at the Marketmen in 2008. As well as a four-year spell as their academy manager from 2012 when it went full-time, he has also worked at Colchester United and has managed both Maldon & Tiptree and Chatham Town.
Wilkins was thanked for his work in the statement by Needham Market chief executive Graham Emmerson.
“Richard has been a pleasure to work with and he is completely professional in the way that he conducts himself and the manner in which he represents the club,” he said.
“This has been a very difficult decision but the overriding consideration has to be what is best for the club and who is best equipped to integrate some of the exceptional talent that is currently in our academy into the first team.
“We wish Richard all the very best for the future and thank him sincerely for the hard work in establishing us as a Level 3 club.”
Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper on Sunday for the big picture and latest news from across Non-League over the last seven days.
As well as exclusive match reports and pictures from all of Saturday’s fixtures in the Vanarama National League, the BetVictor-Sponsored Isthmian League, Southern League and Northern Premier League, the paper’s live coverage extends all the way to Steps 5 and 6 of the National League System.
Images courtesy of @NMFCTWEETS/Twitter