UNITED have appointed former Rotherham, Bury and Scunthorpe boss Alan Knill as the new interim manager at Plainmoor.
Knill will be in charge of team affairs until the end of the season, ably assisted by assistant Shaun Taylor, in the absence of manager Martin Ling, who is currently away on sick leave.
It will be a baptism of fire for Knill, with the Gulls currently on a difficult run of five consecutive defeats and we welcome high-flying Port Vale to TQ1 on Saturday.
‘’Alan was suggested to us by some people in the football industry,’’ said United chairman Simon Baker. ‘’We had drawn up a shortlist and we checked up on Alan with people he had worked with, and they all gave him a glowing reference.
‘’We met him at Aldershot yesterday and we are delighted he has decided to come in and help us. He comes across as a very agreeable man but there is an edge of steel in him, which is what we need.
‘’He also has very good contacts and during his time with Bury, he built up a good relationship with Manchester United and Everton. It would be no surprise to see some loan players come in to help us out.
‘’He is an experienced League 2 manager and the Board will do everything we can to keep this club in the Football League. Alan knows that and he has our support to do whatever is required, which will include new loan signings if necessary. Alan will pick the team for Saturday’s game with Port Vale.
‘’The last I heard from Mrs Ling was that Martin is making progress and we will see how it all pans out. We will cross that bridge when it comes but our focus at the moment is between now and April 27, when the season comes to an end.’’
A tough centre-half in his playing days, Knill was born in Slough and developed his game as a trainee with Southampton. He signed as a professional with the Saints in 1982 but was unable to break into the first-team, prompting a move north to Halifax Town.
Three years at The Shay enabled him to cement his professional credentials and a switch to Swansea City arrived in 1987. His next stop was Bury, where he would later return as a managerial saviour.
Toward the end of his four seasons at Gigg Lane, Knill enjoyed a brief spell on loan with Cardiff, later moving to Scunthorpe in a permanent deal. The final club of his proud playing career was a stint at Rotherham between 1997 and 2001. His one Welsh cap was a World Cup qualifier against Holland in 1988.
His managerial career began with Rotherham in 2005 and his experience with the Millers was put to good use during a spell on the coaching staff at Chesterfield.
A return to Bury arrived in February 2008 and the union immediately worked. His first full season in charge of the Shakers ended with the club finishing just one place outside the automatic promotion slots.
Knill then had to deal with the disappointment of a semi-final play-off defeat to Shrewsbury on penalties, but he was back in the promotion race for the 2010-11 season. Bury were flying high when Championship outfit Scunthorpe came sniffing for a former hero.
The Iron were sadly on the decline and Knill was unable to save the club from relegation after many of the stars procured by Nigel Adkins had left for bigger clubs. Knill departed Scunthorpe last October and certainly fits the bill of an experienced manager.
We all wish him every success at our special club.