WEST HAM legend Julian Dicks has been appointed as the new manager of Heybridge Swifts.
Julian, 50, will oversee training this evening (Oct 4) and take charge of the side for the first time in the Bostik North clash at Mildenhall Town on Saturday.
The retired defender made his name as a free-scoring and uncompromising full-back for the Hammers, Birmingham and Liverpool, and has managed teams including Wivenhoe and Grays.
Julian (pictured) was also a coach to Slaven Bilic at West Ham in the Premier League before leaving that position in November 2017.
The appointment follows the resignation of Jody Brown last week and the club processed about 30 serious applications from candidates with experience from Steps 1-4.
Swifts chairman Gary White said: “The calibre of applicants and those was very high and I feel this reflected the esteem in which the club is now held after the achievements under Jody Brown.
“Julian’s two-year period as coach at such a high level was a major factor in his appointment and the fact that he has extensively watched Swifts as a fan over the past five years has given him a great affinity to the club and its fans.
“Julian’s roots are firmly in non-league football and his father Ron was a non-league player in the west country, having also managed Frome Town in that area, who Swifts beat in the FA cup last season.
“Julian is also committed to the junior football side at Swifts and has been a regular visitor to Sunday matches there, as well as taking on some coaching sessions for the boys.
“He is keen to continue and increase this work to ensure that the thriving junior section at the club continues to develop and improve, and potentially provides a pathway to senior football for the best young players there.
“So much of the success of last season came from the unity created at the club with many new fans coming from the junior section and cheering on the first team every Saturday, both home and away.
“I see that increasing further in the season ahead with Julian’s appointment.”
Swifts midfielder Ahmed Abdulla and winger Sam Bantick have left the club in the wake of Jody’s departure bu the nucleus of the squad has been retained.
Former Colchester United midfielder Karl Duguid is staying as assistant manager, with Adam Drew, who assisted Jody for the past 18 months, taking up a new role of football operations manager.
Gary added: “Adam has great connections within the local non-league and pro game and has been instrumental in getting to secure the services of many new players in his relatively short time with the club to date.
“We believe we have a potentially very strong team off the pitch to help ensure we continue to improve on the pitch and start getting the results again that we know we can achieve.”
Centre-back Ryan Henshaw is available for Saturday’s match after serving a three-match ban.
* The club website will feature an interview with Julian in due course.