Stourbridge appoint Mark Yates as new manager

Stourbridge Football Club have confirmed the appointment of former Kidderminster Harriers boss Mark Yates as their new manager.

The 50-year-old succeeds Ian Long, who left the club by mutual consent last week, and will be joined by Neil Howarth, his long-term assistant manager at previous clubs.

Chairman Andy Pountney said: "I was delighted to be contacted by Mark earlier this week and thrilled that following discussions he has accepted the role with Neil coming in as his assistant. Mark's track record speaks for itself. I look forward to working with them both."

Yates brings a wealth of experience to the role, having spent almost four years in charge of Harriers between early 2006 and late 2009, and a five-year stint in charge of Cheltenham Town in the Football League.

He visited Wembley once with each team, but lost on both occasions - firstly, with Harriers in 2008 when they were beaten 3-2 by Stevenage in the FA Trophy Final having led 2-0 in what was the first ever senior fixture at the rebuilt stadium - and once with Cheltenham when he lost 2-0 to Crewe in the League Two play-off final.

After leaving Cheltenham, he also had spells at Crawley Town, Solihull Moors and Macclesfield Town, before a brief second stint at Harriers towards the end of last season.

His playing career included 54 appearances for Birmingham City in the late 1980s and early 90s, as well as loan moves to Colchester and Lincoln, plus stints with Burnley, Doncaster Rovers and Kidderminster, whom he played for twice, either side of five years at Cheltenham.

Pountney confirmed there had been a lot of interest from potential candidates. He added: "I received a host of phone calls and messages from people interested in the vacancy, which was very heartening.

"I sincerely apologise that I haven't been able to get back in touch with everybody since, but it's been a particularly busy week trying to sort out football matters on top of running my own business."

Yates' first priority at the War Memorial Ground will be to quickly settle the squad amid rumours several players could leave. Long's arrival from Alvechurch opened the floodgates for several of their players to follow him from the Worcestershire side to Amblecote, which has resulted in them now languishing second bottom of the table having made the play-off final last season.

But Long re-joined Alvechurch as manager just 48 hours after his departure from Stourbridge, resulting in speculation that the club will now try to tempt some - if not all - of their former players back to Lye Meadow.

Former Glassboys boss Gary Hackett left in the summer after losing to Alvechurch in the league play-off semi-final, saying he felt it was time for a fresh start to give Stourbridge the final push they needed to earn promotion. But Stourbridge currently sit two places outside of the play-offs in the Southern League Premier Division Central.

Nevertheless, the club has at least one game in hand on three of the five teams immediately above them and will be hoping an immediate boost from Yates' appointment could be enough to get them into the top five.

Midfielder Alex Nicholls, who was put in temporary charge of the team earlier this week along with Lee Brown and goalkeeper James Wren, will oversee tomorrow's (Saturday) home league fixture against Lowestoft Town, with Yates and Howarth formally taking the reigns in the run-up to the trip to Rushall Olympic the following weekend.

"I would also like to thank Alex, Lee and James for stepping into the breach at short notice ahead of the Royston match on Tuesday," added Pountney. "Please give them your full support against Lowestoft."


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