Manager #23; who are the predecessors?
The Stones are poised for a landmark transition.
Wealdstone Football Club, a name synonymous with success in non-league football, stands at the cusp of a transformative era. As the club prepares to welcome the 23rd manager in our 125-year history, we do so against the backdrop of an illustrious past and a future full of promise.
Wealdstone's trophy cabinet is a testament to our success in the non-league game. The club boasts an enviable record, having secured titles across prestigious competitions, including the National League, National League South, Isthmian League, Southern League, FA Trophy, and FA Amateur Cup. This storied history of success has not only cemented the Stones position in the annals of non-league football but also set a benchmark for future achievements.
Team selection at the Stones was traditionally carried out by a Selection Committee, with the club appointing its first manager for the 1961-1962 campaign. 22 managers have been appointed since that season, a diverse array who have shaped our journey through the ranks of English non-league football.
Stuart Maynard: Maynard's talent and potential attracted admirers from across the National League and EFL, culminating in his appointment as the new Head Coach at Notts County in League Two. Maynard's tenure was notable for achieving respectable finishes in the National League, notably 16th and 13th places, despite operating with a part-time squad and limited resources, whilst playing a possession based brand of football.
Dean Brennan: Appointed at the start of the 2019-2020 campaign with Stuart Maynard as his assistant, Brennan left a lasting impact in his first season, leading the club to become National League South champions, a major achievement that energised the fanbase and set new standards for the club.
Gordon Bartlett: Bartlett's 22-year reign at Wealdstone is the longest in the club's history. Taking over whilst the club was at its lowest ebb in 1995, under his guidance the Stones experienced a notable rise, winning the Isthmian League Division 3 title, gaining promotion from Division 2, and eventually securing promotion from Division 1 in a dramatic penalty shootout victory at Dulwich Hamlet in 2004. The pinnacle of his tenure came in the 2013-2014 season, with the club winning the Isthmian League Premier Division and securing promotion to the National League South. Bartlett will forever be remembered as the manager who rebuilt the club and restored our pride.
Brian Hall: Hall's era marks the most significant achievement in the clubs history, securing the non-league double in 1985, winning both the National League (then known as the Gola League) and FA Trophy, becoming the first club in history to achieve this. Stones remain the only semi-professional club to win the double. Hall left the Stones to join Yeovil Town but returned in the middle of the 1990-1991 season to take up first team manager role again, the last at our Lower Mead home.
Allen Batsford: Allen Batsford was a significant figure in English football, particularly known for his managerial successes in non-league football during the 1970s and 1980s. His most notable achievement was leading Wimbledon FC to the Southern League title and subsequently to the Football League in the 1976-77 season. This accomplishment was a pivotal moment in the "Crazy Gang's" history, setting the stage for Wimbledon's remarkable rise through the English football leagues. After a short period at Hillingdon Borough, Batsford took over at the Stones and demonstrated his ability to craft winning teams with limited resources, with a keen eye for talent and a strong understanding of team dynamics. His management style was ahead of its time, blending tactical astuteness with a motivational approach that got the best out of his players, culminating in winning the Southern League championship, which secured promotion to the Alliance Premier League (the equivalent of the current National League), Southern Football League Cup, Championship Shield and Championship Cup in 1981-82.
Syd Prosser: Prosser’s achievement in the 1973-74 season, winning the Southern League Division One, remains a highlight in the club’s history.
Alan Humphries: Towards the end of the 1970/71 season the Southern League laid out plans, alongside the Northern Premier League, to form a pyramid of semi-professional clubs linked to eventual promotion to the Football League. As a start the Southern League offered places in its newly constructed set-up to 32 non-member clubs. Wealdstone and Maidstone United from the Isthmian League accepted their invitations. Wealdstone thus entered semi-professional football after spending 71 years as an amateur club. The then manager, Alan Humphries, believed the Southern League required a “different” type of player to those that flourished in amateur football and retained just 2 amateurs for the club’s inaugural season in semi-professional football. The new squad contained 2 players supporters would have recognised, Dixie Hale who had been a part of Watford’s midfield in the 1960s, and Cliff Jones the ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Welsh international winger.
Pre 1961 Team selection committee
February 1987 – September 1987 Colin Meldrum
June 1961 – April 1968 Vince Burgess
September 1987 – November 1987 Terry Burton
May 1968 – December 1969 Dave Underwood
December 1987 – October 1989 Tony Jennings
December 1969 – June 1970 Howard Moxon
October 1989 – December 1990 Alan Gane
June 1970 – March 1972 Alan Humphries
December 1990 – September 1992 Brian Hall
March 1972 – March 1974 Syd Prosser
September 1992 – September 1993 Dennis Byatt
March 1974 – March 1976 Eddie Presland
September 1993 – June 1995 Fred Callaghan
April 1976 – February 1977 Geoff Coleman
July 1995 – August 2017 Gordon Bartlett
February 1977 – September 1979 Alan Fogarty
August 2017 – May 2019 Bobby Wilkinson
September 1979 – November 1980 Ken Payne
May 2019 – February 2021 Dean Brennan
November 1980 – August 1983 Allen Batsford
March 2021- January 2024 Stuart Maynard
August 1983 – January 1987 Brian Hall
In a development that marks a significant milestone, the Stones were recently allocated an 18-acre site for the construction of a new EFL standard stadium. This move is more than just a physical transformation; it represents a strategic shift in the club's vision. The new stadium project is a clear indication of our intent to transition to a full-time club and set our sights firmly on the Football League. This ambitious project underscores a commitment to realising the club's potential in a tangible manner. It's a commitment that resonates with the club's fan base and stakeholders, who have long envisioned the Stones competing at higher levels of English football. The appointment of the 23rd manager in Wealdstone's history is not merely a routine managerial change. It is a pivotal moment, poised to influence the club's trajectory as it embarks on this ambitious journey. This new managerial appointment carries with it the weight of expectation and the promise of guiding the club through a period of significant change. The new manager will be tasked with not only maintaining the club's legacy but also embracing the challenges and opportunities that come with the club's ambition to move towards full-time professional status. It's a role that demands a blend of respect for the club's history, an understanding of its community roots, and a visionary approach to navigating the competitive landscape of modern football. As Wealdstone FC stands on the brink of this exciting new chapter, there is a sense of anticipation and optimism. The club's journey from its humble beginnings to the pinnacle of the non-league game, to the loss of our much loved Lower Mead Stadium, relegation to the Isthmian League Division 3, to our return to the National League and pursuing Football League ambitions is a narrative rich in passion, determination, resilience and community spirit. The appointment of a new manager, coupled with the development of the new stadium, marks the beginning of what could be the most transformative period in the club's history. Wealdstone FC, with a deep-rooted heritage and forward-looking vision, is not just aiming for success in the immediate future; it is laying the groundwork for a legacy that could redefine its status in English football.