The club are delighted to confirm our management team for the remainder of the 2018-19 season. Interim manager Rob Dray who has taken charge since the departure of Leigh Robinson and Michael Meaker early last month will continue his managerial responsibility under the new role of Head of Football while Matt Villis who has assisted Dray with team affairs will remain as First Team Coach in a role he has fulfilled since the beginning of the campaign. Centre half Keith Emmerson will also join the management team as Player /Coach to add further expertise.
Chairman Kevin Sturmey said: “I am delighted that the Board has decided to keep the same personnel in charge until the end of this season but with a tweak of our management structure. Rob and Matt have steadied the ship and taken us forward since they took on the caretaker roles and Keith will add to the experience but with a modern outlook on the game which all three possess.”
Expanding on the club’s decision, Sturmey continued: “They all deserve the chance to take the club forward; Rob has a massive book of contacts, is well respected and the Directors, Volunteers and Fans think he is the right choice to lead us to our goals. Matt will become a very highly respected coach and could go a long way in the game which we hope will be with us. Keith is the Army F C Assistant Manager, a PTI and Strength & Conditioning Coach plus still a very fit and able player so we feel this complements Rob and Matt perfectly. The roles also allow them to bring in specialist coaches, sports scientists etc as the game is not the same as it was 10 or 20 years ago in non-league. My working relationship with Rob before and after September has always been good and now we are working closer together to help build Taunton Town in to the sustainable, progressive club we want it to be. Matt was a class player and I believe he has taken his playing style in to coaching, being very astute professionally and has a great eye for players. Keith is an immense character that we want on our side and was a major factor in the dismantling of a very good St Albans side. We have had some great days and nights against higher ranked opposition but I have never seen a Taunton side obliterate a team of quality as they did in the first 45 minutes last week. The three of them have built a very solid dug out and changing room and feel they are the choice for the future.”
Dray joined the club as coach in the summer of 2016 after previously being manager of Bridgwater Town and assistant manager at Bideford. Since then he has established himself as a key member of the management team and has calmly stepped into the breach following the departures last month. Commenting on his appointment Dray said:” It’s a huge privilege to take this position; everybody associated with the club from the Chairman and Directors down to the kit men and the stewards, all share the same ethos about the good of the club and fulfilling its potential. Along with Matt and Keith (and possibly another specialist coach in future )we aim do our bit on the pitch along with a great group of players and support staff, so from here we press on with the FA Cup, Trophy and the rest of this season. We will have plenty of ups and one or two downs, which comes with this level of football and is where we need the fantastic ever growing fan base to keep coming, supporting and being positive in everything we do. We guarantee hard work from us and of course the players who always give everything every week so buckle up and enjoy the ride starting on Saturday in the FA Cup.”
An experienced centre half, Villis played league football at Torquay United before enjoying a long career at several non-league clubs including Weston-super-Mare, Tiverton and Bideford. He signed for Taunton in November 2015 but was forced to retire through injury last season. He joined the backroom team at the start of this season. Speaking to tauntontown.com he remarked:” It’s great to be given the coaching position on a permanent basis following our successful interim period. It’s immense to be a part of this forward-thinking club and it’s a superb feeling to have the backing of Kevin and the Board. The players have been outstanding since the change of management, they have given us everything and have been an absolute pleasure to work with. Lastly I would like to thank our passionate supporters who continue to astonish me with the numbers that come through the turnstiles home and away following Taunton Town. Rob, Keith and I will give this club 100% effort and dedication into continuing to push us forward.”
Emmerson joined the Peacocks in January 2018 and has become a firm favourite with the supporters with his committed and organised displays. His early career was spent at Hartlepool before having successful stints at Poole Town and Farnborough amongst others. He has also played for both the Army and UK Armed Forces teams. He commented: “I am delighted to accept the opportunity to become Player/Coach at Taunton Town FC. I have recently become the Assistant Coach for the Army Men’s Senior Football Team, a role I’m thoroughly enjoying by helping to develop players. Taunton Town is a great club and I am already part of a fantastic group of players (I am not giving up playing just yet). I am hoping with my knowledge and experience I can help to continue to move the club forward. Your continued support is always greatly appreciated.”
With the management team now ratified, the club can firmly concentrate on looking to maintain their impressive start to life in the Southern Premier and hopefully continue their cup successes. Captain Matt Wright concluded: “We’re glad to get everything settled and very happy with the appointment of Rob, Matt and Keith. We all know our jobs and responsibilities on and off the pitch so we’re ready to kick on now for the rest of the season.”