King given deal to lead Hawks to next level

Steven King believes the security of a two-year contract will help him achieve his goal of leading Whitehawk into the top tier of non-league football.

The Hawks boss was handed the deal this week as a reward for keeping them in Conference south last season and then making a positive start to the new campaign.

Whitehawk were in the relegation zone, having played more games than any of their rivals and with just one home league win all season when King was appointed as Darren Freeman’s permanent successor in February.

But the former Lewes and Macclesfield boss inspired a revival which included seven wins and three draws from the remaining 17 games, staying up after a 3-3 draw with Sutton United on a dramatic final day of the season.

The squad has been rebuilt this summer with just five players remaining from last season and the intention is to challenge for the Conference south play-offs.

King, who was working without a contract, is desperate to lead the club into Conference premier, just as he did at Lewes, and believes his deal will help him achieve that.

Steven King, right, with club president Chris Gargan

He told The Argus: “We want to get in the Conference – that is our aim. I think we have put together a fantastic team that will give us the opportunity and the platform to do that.

“These are by far and away the best players that have played for Whitehawk.

“This gives me security to do what I’m doing. There is no point in building something today if you are not there tomorrow.

“I felt we did a great job in keeping the team up and I said we would put a team together to challenge for the play-offs with a style of football that was pleasing to the eye. I have done that and I believe we can challenge to go up.”

King was told the job was initially until the end of the 2013-14 season when he was appointed but he admits he was always looking to the long-term.

Although he has been at Northwich, Farnborough, Lewes again, Macclesfield and now Whitehawk since controversially being axed from his first spell at the Dripping Pan in 2008, King admits he has always wanted to put his roots down at a club.

King, who spent five years at Lewes first time around, said: “I have always wanted to stay at clubs as long as I can. I have never wanted to move clubs but I have been taken out of positions rather than leaving.

“It is a project here. We want to build for the future on decent football. We will be pushing to go up and will do it by playing good football.

“We need to build the fanbase, we need to be pushing it up to the 500-mark. When I first went to Lewes they were getting crowds of 250. In my last season there the average gate was 1,000.

“Lewes have kept the core of that fanbase from that era and we want to create something similar here.”

Whitehawk president Chris Gargan said it was always the intention to reward King for his efforts last season.

Gargan is also delighted with the quality of the new squad King has assembled.

He said: “Steve has done well. We promised him a deal if he kept us up which he did.

“He has a great backroom team, has attracted some fantastic people to the club and it is borne out by results.

“Compare it to Ebbsfleet who have the biggest budget in the league and they have scored three goals in five games. Steve and has backroom team have rebuilt the side, are sitting higher in the table, are playing better football and beat Ebbsfleet.

“Steve knows the league, he is a proper manager, he hit the ground running, kept us up and we reward people who do their jobs.”

Hawks visit Bath tomorrow sitting fifth in the table.

by Howard Griggs (The Argus)

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