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Smith takes over at Hythe Town
Smith takes over at Hythe Town

Former Sheppey United Chairman, Matthew Smith, is looking to take Hythe Town to the next level having agreed to take on the same role at the Kent coast club.

Having overseen huge development off the pitch and then success on it at Sheppey United, it came as a real surprise that he left the island club last year.

With a new challenge ahead of him, Hythe Town have announced that he will be taking over from Gary Johnson and plans to redevelop the club are already at an advanced stage.

A statement from Hythe Town Football Club, issued on the club website reads:

“Following weeks of negotiations between our new Chairman and Gary Johnson we are delighted to announce that as of 10 May 2024 our new Chairman shall be Matthew Smith.

Matthew brings with him a wealth of non-league knowledge having taken his previous club from Step 7 to Step 4 both on and off the field. Matthew is committed to the club’s legacy, fans, and community is unwavering and we are excited for the future under his stewardship.”

In Matthew’s first interview as Chairman, he said: “I am delighted at becoming the custodian of Hythe Town FC Limited and the many challenges we have ahead of us over these coming weeks and months. Firstly, I would like to thank the outgoing Chairman, Gary Johnson whose fantastic diligence and work ethic are a main part of the reason I find myself back at the helm of a football club after my ten-month break.”

“Gary will not be leaving us but instead assume the newly created role of CEO and will be around Reachfields for a long time to come. The team Gary has built since his appointment last year are testament to the man himself and I am now delighted to lead them. I spoke to them at a recent board meeting where I also detailed, I would need to bring in some key team members whom I have worked with previously.”

“The new structure will see the continued magnificent work Gary has done with building an alliance with Hythe Town Youth FC which will be formalised in the coming months. As anyone who knows me, I am all about building a club from its community and top of my priorities is to explore the alliance and get some concrete plans in place where the youth are an integral part of this great football club.”

“I like others have watched on from a far and seen the great teams that have played at Hythe over the past ten years but unfortunately Reachfields has been neglected over these years and this is something I intend to put right.

“I want a club the whole town of Hythe can be proud of, with this in mind we shall be completing lots of projects over the summer months, from a full removal of the pitch surface to updating the entire ground to meet ground grading and I will not rest until Reachfields is a family friendly environment that the entire town can be proud to call home.”

“The works planned start tomorrow with the pitch removal and we shall keep you up to date with regular social media updates. I have brought with me a new Social Media officer, Commercial Manager & Creative Team. I am looking forward to working with the entire Executive Committee and have had varying conversations with Sammy & Darren about next season and my aspirations for the playing side.”

“Rome was not built in a day so whilst I hope you see changes when you return in late July, please know I see this as a long term project to bring Reachfields back to its former glory and continue the success you have seen on the pitch over the past few years. I want you all to know that I believe in our mantra– “OUR TOWN – Stronger Together”

Gary Johnson added how things have developed over the past few weeks and his new role at the football club:

“I’m absolutely delighted to introduce Matt and his new backroom team to the Football Club, it’s taken many weeks, days and hours of negotiations and meetings to firm this up and conclude the arrangements in the last few weeks and days; with Matt’s knowledge, commercial awareness and vision I’m confident that he will lead the football club well.”

“On a personal level, I’m sad to step aside but feel for the greater benefit of Hythe Town FC this is the right thing to do; whilst I may have the ability to lead a non-league club I do not have the necessary financial backing in order to make the difference that this Club requires. The infrastructure of the Club needs much improvement and funding something I could not stretch to.”

“I am of course delighted to have been asked by Matt to stay on in this newly created role and continue to lead the Club forward with him, hopefully to better times both on and off the field; of course with change comes uncertainty but I do believe this is a great opportunity for all at the Club, the Staff, Volunteers, Management & Players and with the recent appointment of Sammy Moore and his backroom Team I do truly think that we’ll be exciting fans both new and old and whom we will look forward to seeing at Reachfields very soon.”

“To those that I have worked closely with at the Club, the Board and the Supporters who welcomed me and my approach, thank you. Exciting times ahead.”