Seven months after he stood down as manager at Croydon FC, it was announced tonight that Liam Giles is to return to the Arena as the club’s new boss.
A vacancy had occurred after Tyler Chambers and his assistant manager, Joe Brown, resigned via Twitter on Saturday night, with the Southern Counties East Football League Division One just one place above the relegation zone after 11 games.
Giles left after his 99th game in charge of the Trams, which had included two covid-wrecked, gruelling and frustrating seasons.
Since leaving Croydon, Giles has been managing Epsom and Ewell, a Tier 10 club that plays in the first division of the Southern Combination Football League. Giles leaves them at the top of their table, four points clear of their rivals.
Tonight, Giles told Inside Croydon, “I’m delighted to be home. Can’t wait to get back to work and get this Tram back on track.”
And the Croydon FC board issued a lengthy statement.
It said, “Firstly, the Croydon FC board would again like to thank the outgoing management team, Tyler and Joe, for their service to the club and wish them all the very best for their futures. At the same time, we are also very happy to announce the re-appointment of Liam Giles as their replacement, effective immediately.
“As Tyler alluded to, Croydon FC has been undergoing a period of significant change and re-development, aiming to create a better and more sustainable environment for players and supporters, while also working towards contributing more to our local community.
“The No1 priority for the new chairman and board when it was formed early in 2022 was financial stability, after prolonged uncertainty and even risk to the club’s existence.
“As Croydon FC enters its 70th year in 2023, preserving the club, its heritage; and crucially its presence in its historical home at Croydon Arena, remains a key challenge, especially with ongoing cost inflation.
“The club is now on a much more solid financial footing, even after considerable reinvestment both on and off the pitch. Generous support of fans and local business sponsors has been instrumental as well as hard work securing and developing new sources of revenue. This while keeping a tighter control over costs, including making tough choices (such as around player budget) and having difficult conversations with key suppliers.
“The Trams faithful remain the lifeblood of the club and have been instrumental in its survival, especially during the pandemic. Volunteers remain crucial on matchdays and for everything that happens around it – ticket sales, to programmes, to photography, to matchday announcements and reports. Positively, new volunteers with fresh talents are now also buying into the new vision.
“Repaying this loyalty with a better supporter experience is hence crucial and includes the clubhouse refurbishment; lowered season ticket prices; a new website; locally sourced quality matchday catering; a Community Fun Day and more. We continue to make improvements and hope to attract new fans.
“Beyond this, the club’s mission has extended to include longer-term aims to build something sustainable in the wider local community. The club feels it has a responsibility, where possible, to help tackle some of the difficult social challenges which many areas of London face.
“This begins with a deeper relationship with Kinetic Foundation, bringing more young players through to the first team, and the launch of a Youth initiative which now has teams at three lower age groups from a standing start, providing free football for many.
“The club has also rejuvenated links with Croydon Women, helping support their return to Croydon Arena and hopes to build on this important relationship.
“The work then extends to efforts with local charities including South Norwood Community Kitchen, who have partnered with us for fundraising and food bank donations, as well as fledgling relationships with adoption, homelessness and mental health groups which will all hopefully develop in the future.
“We remain grateful to Croydon Council and the Mayor for engaging with the chairman and board to understand the vision and consider how we can work together to achieve more.
“Every manager being considered for the role at Croydon FC (both now and previously) has been asked to buy in and commit to this vision. Frustration with disappointing results is understandable and why there is an ongoing review process.
“This ensures the overall strategy for the club is monitored and remains correct for the long-term good of the organisation. The board is open to listening to actionable feedback supported by clear strategy, in light of the various constraints that we are working under.
“Liam Giles has demonstrated a deep connection to this mission which is tied up in his own personal connection to Croydon FC over many years and his hopes for the team and the wider club so we are delighted to have him back on board and ready to work towards our shared goals. Liam was always a popular manager with the club’s supporters and it was also important for the board to listen to their wishes in this decision.”
Gavin English, the club chairman, said, “We’re obviously grateful for the time put in by Tyler and Joe and we wish them all the best. Our ambitions to create a forward-thinking club with a focus on development and progression of youth as well as the part we have to play in our local community remain central to our efforts.
“We were delighted to hear from Liam and that he was interested in a return, many fans and indeed Liam, felt there was unfinished business, and we believe, with the newly improved infrastructure, the strengthened board and clear aims and aspirations the club holds, Liam can be given a real chance to fully focus on what happens on the pitch from a greater position of stability.
“It has been great to discuss our aims for the first team and refreshing to hear Liam enthusiastically engage with his role both on the pitch and off it. We have set out what we feel is a reasonable ambition for the season, been clear about the culture we are looking to develop and asked that Liam and his team work closely with our director of football, Kevin Molloy, to ensure player development and progression with the right young players being given an opportunity to shine for Croydon, as some are already.
“The retention of well-qualified and experienced first-team coach Matt Capon and our excellent physio Ben Gladden will enable continuity and ensure that Liam has all the technical support that he needs to make the best of this opportunity.
“We are also excited about what he has learned from his stint away working alongside the experienced and excellent management at Epsom and Ewell, who have been gracious in supporting Liam’s return.
“As a board we of course see the romanticism of Liam’s return and a potential fairytale ending (or beginning), but the board is serious about its aims and Liam knows he has targets to hit and a very important job to do as both manager and an ambassador for the club.
“We looking forward to seeing what Liam, his team and the whole organisation can do going forward. Ding! Ding!”
English added that the Croydon FC board invites journalists, iC readers and anyone else from the local area to come and find out about our plans. Please see www.croydonfc.com for more or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
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