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Darrell Clarke agrees to become the Saddlers' new First Team Manager

10 May 2019

Club News

Darrell Clarke agrees to become the Saddlers' new First Team Manager

10 May 2019

Walsall Football Club are delighted to announce that Darrell Clarke has agreed to become our new First Team Manager.

The 41-year-old arrives with an impressive track record, having managed over 400 games and achieved four promotions, two apiece with former clubs Salisbury City and Bristol Rovers.

“I can’t wait to get started,” said Clarke after agreeing terms on a three-year contract here at the Banks’s Stadium.

“I have spoken with members of the Board on a number of occasions and this is a project I am really looking forward to.

“I am excited by the challenge that lies ahead. This is a great club and I can’t wait to get my teeth into the task at hand.

“The club have had a couple of disappointing seasons and we now find ourselves in League Two. I want to give these brilliant fans something to shout about, put a smile on their faces and give them a team that will give their all for the club and the badge.

“I like my teams to be on the front foot and play attractive, attacking football with the ability to adapt to different scenarios.

"I know all about the division we are in, I’ve had success at League Two level before and I want to bring the good times back. I will work tirelessly to achieve our shared goals.”

As a player, Clarke made almost 300 league appearances for hometown Mansfield Town and Hartlepool United before becoming player-manager at Salisbury in 2010.

He enjoyed immediate success, leading the Whites to promotion from the Southern League Premier Division, with Hednesford Town beaten 3-2 on penalties in the 2010/11 play-off final.

His second season produced a respectable tenth-place finish and a club-record run to the FA Cup third round, where they faced Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Clarke’s stock rose even further in 2012/13 after guiding City to runners-up spot and promotion from Conference South after a 3-2 extra-time play-off final victory over Dover Athletic.

Winning 84 of his 157 matches in charge of Salisbury, Clarke joined Bristol Rovers as assistant-manager to John Ward in June 2013 and took the top job the following March.

Unable to rescue Rovers from relegation, he achieved promotion back to the EFL at the first attempt with a penalty shootout win over Grimsby Town in the Conference Premier play-off final.

The Pirates then went on to secure a second successive promotion in 2015/16, pipping Accrington Stanley to third place in League Two after a last-gasp final-day victory over Dagenham & Redbridge.

A period of consolidation followed, with Rovers placing 10th and 13th in League One over the next two seasons, before Clarke left his post in December 2018.

“Darrell arrives with an excellent track record,” added Chief Executive Stefan Gamble. “He’s young and hungry but, at the same time, he has over 400 games under his belt as a manager. That is phenomenal for someone who is still so young.

"He has a clear vision for the football club that is shared by the Board and I’m sure he will be well received by our supporters. We are all looking forward to working with Darrell in what I am sure will be an exciting chapter for Walsall Football Club.”

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