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Former Southampton, Grimsby Town, Port Vale, Hartlepool United player named as new manager National League strugglers King's Lynn Town



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King's Lynn Town have appointed former Southampton midfielder Tommy Widdrington as their new manager.

The 50-year-old joins the Linnets from League Two Bristol Rovers, where he was twice caretaker boss and director of football until last summer.

Widdrington, who was more recently in charge of loan deals at the Memorial Ground, replaces Ian Culverhouse, who left the club on November 29.

King's Lynn Town owner Stephen Cleeve with his new team manager, Tommy Widdington.. (53651641)
King's Lynn Town owner Stephen Cleeve with his new team manager, Tommy Widdington.. (53651641)

"It's happened very, very quickly and I'm delighted," admitted Lynn's boss after being unveiled this afternoon.

"It's a part of me that I haven't been doing a lot of in recent history but it's something I'm comfortable doing.

"I've managed football clubs, I've managed managers to manager football clubs, and I've sometimes not quite managed managers to manage football clubs well enough, but I think as long as there's a clear pathway between the top of the club through the football department, I can't see why the way I do things won't work here."

Lynn's new boss has yet to appoint an assistant, but it has been confirmed that interim boss Paul Bastock – Culverhouse's number two – has turned down the opportunity to continue in the role.

New King's Lynn Town manager Tommy Widdrington. Picture: Ian Burt (53651306)
New King's Lynn Town manager Tommy Widdrington. Picture: Ian Burt (53651306)

Widdrington has managed both Salisbury City and Hemel Hempstead Town while spending a brief stint with Southend United as assistant boss.

But his longest spell in the dugout came at National League South side Eastbourne Borough, where he was installed as manager in 2012 following the sacking of previous management duo Garry Wilson and Nick Greenwood.

He maintained their National League South status and guided them to mid-table finishes during his tenure at Priory Lane. He also won the Sussex Senior Cup with them at the AMEX Stadium in 2016.

After resigning in 2017, he then joined Coventry as the club's head of recruitment.

He left the Sky Blues a year later and took up a similar position at Bristol Rovers where he remained until earlier this month.

During his time in the west country, Widdrington was twice put in caretaker charge of the Gas, before being named as Director of Football.

As a player, Widdrington made 372 appearances in the English Football League during a 15-year career in the game with him first coming to prominence at Southampton.

The former Saints midfielder lists Grimsby Town, Port Vale, Hartlepool United and Macclesfield Town among his clubs as a player.

King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve, left, with new manager Tommy Widdrington. Picture: Ian Burt (53651327)
King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve, left, with new manager Tommy Widdrington. Picture: Ian Burt (53651327)

He arrives at The Walks with Lynn – without a home win this campaign – languishing in 22nd place in the league standings.

The Linnets, seven points adrift of the relegation zone, host basement boys Dover Athletic in a crunch clash at The Walks tomorrow.

"We've got to get above two teams, we haven't got to win the league," said Widdrington.

"That's my sole thinking. At this moment in time I don't care who the other two teams are, all I want to do is get King's Lynn above two teams and above that horrible dotted line.

"You won't hear me mention that word begins with an 'R' I want to be talking about progress beginning with a 'P'

"Let's forget about what's gone on and where we are, and it's going to be hard, it's not, it's going to be about work-in progress from day one for me.

"The games are going to come thick and fast and one thing I do know is, my Mrs is going to have to change her Christmas plans because I wasn't planning on going to Halifax on Tuesday night and Grimsby on December 28."

Widdrington's appointment comes on the day Academy players Nicolas Dias Da Costa, Mitchell Rasberry, Albie Howe, Ethan Wilson and Tyler Knowles all registered for the first team.



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