Former Sheffield Wednesday, Hull and Sunderland man takes on management role with EFL club
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A former Sheffield Wednesday, Hull City and Sunderland man with vast Championship experience has been confirmed as the new head coach of Gillingham and replaces former boss Neil Harris in the dugout at Priestfield Stadium.
The Kent based outfit were heavily linked with a move for former Owls boss Steve Bruce but have instead opted to appoint his long time assistant Stephen Clemence.
Clemence worked closely with Bruce during his time at Hillsborough in 2019 and briefly operated as joint manager of the team alongside Steve Agnew in January, in that time the pair won two of their five games.
Clemence eventually assumed the role of first team coach for the remainder of season as Wednesday recorded a 16th place finish in the Championship. Clemence along with the rest of the coaching team departed for Newcastle that same summer.
The ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Birmingham City midfielder worked as a coach at St James’ Park for over 100 games and guided the Magpies to two mid-table finishes in the Premier League.
Clemence’s most recent role saw him again work with Bruce as a coach at West Brom, but the pair departed after eight months due to a poor run of form.
Clemence has amassed over 13 years of experience as a coach in his career and has also worked at clubs such as Sunderland, Hull City and Aston Villa.
But the 45-year-old is now taking on his first gig in management with Gillingham. He inherits a team that are eighth in League 2 with 25 points from their opening 16 matches.
The Gills were taken over by Florida based businessman Brad Galinson in December last year and the American has set out his aspirations to win promotion back to the third-tier.
Galinson added during an interview with BBC South East that the new boss needs to fit four pieces of criteria - putting the players first, having a personality to fit in, playing brave front-footed and entertaining football and working hard.
Ex-Wolves boss Kenny Jackett, Gillingham’s director of football led the search for Harris’s successor, whilst working closely with former chairman Paul Scally.
Former Manchester United captain Bruce is said to have recommended Clemence to his old club, according to BBC Sport.
Clemence will take charge of Gillingham training for the first time on Thursday 2 November, where he will be joined by new assistant coach Robbie Stockdale.
The 45-year-old will take charge of his first game in management on Saturday when he takes on Hereford in the FA Cup first round.
His first taste of Football League action takes place on Saturday 11 November in a challenging away clash against third place Wrexham.