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Dereham Town announce Adam Gusterson and Olly Willis as new management team as Harleston start search for new boss

PUBLISHED: 10:16 08 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:38 08 January 2019

Adam Gusterson is set to take over at Dereham Town after leaving Harleston Town. Picture: Archant

Adam Gusterson is set to take over at Dereham Town after leaving Harleston Town. Picture: Archant

Archant 2017

Dereham Town have announced former Magpies Adam Gusterson and Olly Willis as their new management team following the sacking of Neal Simmons at the weekend.

Former Dereham Town boss Neal Simmons. Picture: Rene KendalFormer Dereham Town boss Neal Simmons. Picture: Rene Kendal

Dereham Town have announced former Magpies Adam Gusterson and Olly Willis as their new management team following the sacking of Neal Simmons at the weekend.

Gusterson and Willis have left Harleston Town to take over at Aldiss Park with Chris Linehan also forming part of the new management team.

They will take charge of the Magpies this weekend when they entertain Heybridge Swifts (kick-off 3pm).

Gusterson and Willis led Harleston to the top of the Thurlow Nunn First Division following their promotion last season.

A club statement from Harleston said: “The club are sad to announce the imminent departures of our first team management staff, Adam Gusterson, Olly Willis & Chris Linehan. The trio have been offered an incredible opportunity at a higher level and they leave the club with our blessing and best wishes. We will forever be grateful for their incredible achievements at the club, cumulating in the Sterry & Mummerry cup double last season. They leave the team in a fantastic position at the top of the Thurlow Nunn 1st division and will always be welcome back at the club. A further statement will be released in due course regarding the vacant management position.”

Dereham decided to call time on Simmons’ time at Aldiss Park following Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at Tilbury, which left them rooted to the bottom of Bostik League North.

Simmons admitted it will take some time for him to come to terms with the decision.

“A job like this takes up a lot of your time - probably 40 to 50 hours a week, with the phone going all the time. So it feels really strange at the moment that I am no longer involved and I think it will take me a little time to adjust,” said Simmons.

“This club has been a big part of my life since I first came here as a player, in 2002 I think it was. I then hung up my boots and had nine years as assistant to Matt (Henman) before I took over as manager myself at the beginning of last season.

“We had plenty of good times as a club under Matt - we got promoted, won Senior Cups, established Dereham as the third ranked team in Norfolk and brought through lots of good young players.

“I will also look back fondly on my time as manager. We were top of the league for a while last season - the highest position the club has ever been in - and I will always be proud of that achievement.”

Simmons is surprised he was shown the door at Aldiss Park - and feels he would have guided the team to safety had he been given the chance.

“I had heard a few noises around the club, but it was still a shock when I got the call,” he said. “I think it all went back to the game at Sudbury when we lost 8-2 with six youth team players on the pitch. That game summed up the problems we have had this season - there have been so many problems with injuries and illness which have kept key players out of the team, people like Jamie Forshaw, Rhys Logan and Joe Gatting. That has been our main problem, together with the general standard of the league going up now there are just 20 teams.

“It has been a tough season but I was never going to step down. I am too proud to do that and with players coming back I am sure we would have turned it around. We are only three points from safety and there are still 54 points to play for.

“Whoever comes in has some good players to work with and providing they can get the team to gel I am sure Dereham will stay up.”

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