Exmouth Town appoint Kevin Hill as their new manager

Kevin Hill, the new manager of Budleigh Salterton FC

Kevin Hill, the new manager of Budleigh Salterton FC - Credit: Archant

Exmouth Town have named Kevin Hill as their new manager with current team boss Andy Rawlings being appointed as the club’s Director of Football. The move comes within the first month of the tenure of new Town chairman Stuart Shaw and it adds fuel to the thinking that the Southern Road club are making giant strides towards a very bright future, writes Steve Birley.

When businessman Shaw was appointed chairman he made it clear he was keen to turn Town into a community club that ‘developed their own’ and ‘built from within’ and the appointment of Hill certainly fits that labelling!

Hill leaves his home town club of Budleigh just one season after leaving Southern Road for Greenway Lane where he enjoyed an excellent season, guiding the Robins to a fourth placed finish and they ended the seasons as the South West Peninsula League Eastern Division leading scorers with 89 goals from 32 matches.

Town chairman Stuart Shaw says: “I spent some time after being appointed looking at the whole football management thing. It occurred to me quite quickly that, in order for me to find us the sort of chap who would buy into the ‘community club’ and ‘build from within’ thinking, we would need to find someone with experience, someone with empathy, someone who is known as an advocate of developing young players, and someone who will get the respect of players young and old within his charge, and very quickly the name of Kevin Hill came to the fore.

“I also did my homework, I involved Terry [Moore] at Town and he was a great help with his words of wisdom and, very soon it became clear that Kevin was the chap we needed to be talking with.”

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He continued: “It does not take long when conversing with Kevin Hill to see just what sort of a character he is. I left our initial meeting feeling that if we were going to take the project as far as we can then, if not Kevin, then a ‘Kevin Hill type’ would be paramount to our planning and so I am absolutely delighted that eh clearly did not need much time to consider what we spoke of. He called me back and, as they say, the rest is now history!”

Shaw added: “For me, from day one, it has always been about the long term stability of the club and that’s what I spoke at length with to Kevin. I am very keen that we build for a long sustainable future and that means bringing our own players through a youth system and also looking to work with the very best of the local young players. It was clear early in our discussions that Kevin shares this view and, as a top coach with such experience, he is the ideal man to take us into what I really do hope will be an exciting and rewarding future on and off the pitch.”

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With regard to Andy Rawlings, the former Cullompton Rangers youth and then reserve team boss who came to the club last autumn along with former Exeter City goalkeeper Kevin Miller, steered Town to a 16th placed finish after what was a turbulent season. However the main task for Rawlings had been to ensure the club did not drop out of the Premier Division and, on that score, he did a sterling job. He also blooded a number of younger players who will no doubt be itching to get along to the pre-season sessions with new boss Hill to show what they are capable of.

Chairman Shaw says of the Rawlings situation: “It was a no-brainer to look to keep Andy [Rawlings] involved. As a club we owe him a debt of thanks for his sterling efforts last season. He had a tough time, but came through it with a continual positive attitude and every football club needs an ‘Andy Rawlings’. Prior to my own appointment as chairman I had been taking a keen interest in all things Town and was impressed with how Andy was going about his business. He had plenty of contacts in the football world and is extremely good working with and promoting younger players and, as our new director of football his remit will be to pull things together around the first team boss. I see this combination of Kevin and Andy being the ‘perfect fit’ for us as a club and I am looking forward to working with the pair.”

As for the next move, the Town chairman says: “There’s plenty of work to be done off the Southern Road pitch, I am keen to look at all aspects of our organisation. We are getting some good people on board to join the committed and, indeed, dedicated folk we currently have at Southern Road. I also remain determined to work with local business in a bid to make the club more ‘community friendly’ and very much a club of which the whole Town of Exmouth can feel part of.”

There’s little doubt that the new man at the helm at Exmouth Town means business and his latest appointment of Kevin Hill as manager and Andy Rawlings as director of football, suggests he is quickly getting the best folk in place to help his vision become a reality.

That said, chairman Shaw is not naive enough to think there will not be a few bumps along the way.

He says: “Football can be rewarding as indeed it can be harsh and cruel. I am well aware that no team or club can expect to get everything right all of the time, or have a divine right for non-stop success, but I am determined that Exmouth Town will now go on a long and sustainable journey that will ultimately deliver for us what we all want – a successful home town Football Club on and off the pitch.”

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