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Eastbourne Borough name former footballer turned highly rated coach as new manager

Eastbourne Borough name former footballer turned highly rated coach Mark Beard as their new manager after Danny Bloor’s controversial exit.

The 48 year old is a former player who started at at the Millwall youth academy, in 1991, then signed his first contract as a professional two years later and made his debut in the first team. He scored a goal in a FA Cup win against Arsenal in January 1995 and was then transferred to Sheffield United for the 1995-96 campaign.

He returned to Southend United in 1998 after spending time there on loan back in 1997. Over two stints, he played regularly for the Essex side. He also spent time at Kingstonian.

In 2004, he moved to Spain and set up a youth football academy for the Spanish club UD San Pedro and eventually became a member of their playing squad.

After spending two years in Spain he returned home to England and signed for Stevenage and spent one year at the club, winning the FA Trophy with the first team that won a competitive cup in the new Wembley Stadium, in May 2007.

Beard spent time with AFC Wimbledon in the 2007-08 campaign, where the club was promoted to Conference South through the play-offs.

Beard, who retired from playing in 2007, made the move into coaching and managing, taking on the roles of first-team managers at Haywards Heath Town and Tooting & Mitcham, and Loxwood, respectively.

In May 2017, he combined his Loxwood role with working in the Brighton & Hove Albion academy. He then left Surrey to become the full-time under-18 academy coach at Brighton.

After four years in Brighton’s academy, he was appointed assistant manager of Stockport County.

Beard became head of coaching for Dorking Wanderers, in November 2021.

CLUB STATEMENT:

Eastbourne Borough FC is delighted to announce highly rated, “forward-thinking” former Dorking Wanderers Head Coach and Brighton & Hove Albion youth coach Mark Beard as Manager with immediate effect.

Beard, an experienced UEFA A Licence coach with more than 30 years’ experience of playing and coaching across all levels of football, joins from the Surrey club he helped to reach the National League for the first time in 2022.

Prior to that, the 48-year-old – who counts Newcastle and former England and Brighton Sporting Director Dan Ashworth and ex- Brighton and Chelsea Head Coach Graham Potter among his fans – was The Seagulls Under-18s Manager.

In his time in the role between 2019 and 2021, Beard and his staff created a world class youth training model.

The programme developed top talent including full Ireland international forward Aaron Connelly, former England Under-20 defender Alex Cochrane, ex-England Under-18 defender Haydon Roberts, former Three Lions Under-17 midfielder Teddy Jenks, and Hull City regular Ryan Longman. This season alone Evan Ferguson, Andy Moran, Cameron Pepiuon and Odel Offiah made their premier league debuts.

New Eastbourne Borough owner Simon Leslie is confident Beard will use his nurturing of talent, care for his players, and tactical expertise to great effect with The Sports as they seek to win promotion out of National League South.

Beard, who in a 15-year playing career made 370 appearances for teams including Millwall and Sheffield United, said he was “honoured” to become the new Eastbourne Borough Manager.

He said: “It has been a whirlwind few days, but I am so excited to be manager of this great club.

“I was blown away by the vision of Simon Leslie and am proud to be part of the future to take the club forward to the next level.

“I’d like to thank Dorking Wanderers founder and manager Marc White for giving me permission to speak to Eastbourne Borough and allowing me to have this opportunity.

“The hard work starts now, and I am looking forward to getting going.

“Over the coming weeks I look forward to meeting the staff and the fans.

“Me and my staff will build an exciting squad who will give everything for the Eastbourne Borough shirt.”

Beard’s is joined and his Assistant Manager Jamie Strong and Niall Clark who will be Head of Performance Medicine and Sports Science who has won four top-flight titles globally. Having also worked at Man City, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Reading. Chris Dumbrell and

Dean Lightwood will remain as goalkeeping coach and Chris Dumbrell as club physio, with other support staff appointments to follow.

Discussing his new Manager, Leslie said: “I could not be more excited for Mark Beard to be joining us at Eastbourne Borough as manager.

“I am excited about the lessons Mark learned from his time at Brighton, working with Dan Ashworth and Graham Potter, and his desire to be lifelong learner.

“Mark’s time at Brighton, getting so many players into the first team, made him immensely proud and that to me demonstrated that he put others’ successes ahead of his own.

“That spoke volumes about his character, and I knew instantly he was the right man to lead the project.

“I have big plans to take Eastbourne Borough forward and when I shared my vision for the club with Mark, he instantly got it.

“Mark is passionate about helping his players to learn and grow, the lessons we can all learn from all other areas of the club and the other top coaches who we will be hiring to support him and his players, and the science and testing facilities we are going to implement that will give us the best chance to create successful and well-rounded athletes.

“I believe in Mark and the way he will build a team of players who care for each other, believe in each other, and give their very all until the final whistle.

“And, that whatever happens in their career, Mark and I will have had an impact on their life and left them better than we found them.”

Leslie added: “Mark’s current manager at Dorking, Marc White, said he will make one of the top managers in our league, and that his skills for developing players is second-to-none.

“He was gutted to see him go but would not stop him doing what he loved. I am grateful to him for giving us this wonderful leader of footballers.

“If we do the right things the results will follow. I am confident we will build it and Eastbourne will come along with us.”

Beard comes highly recommended and counts among his referees Ashworth, who as arguably the game’s leading sporting director created the blueprint for both England and Brighton’s success and has now helped lead Newcastle into the Champions League alongside Eddie Howe.

Another of Beard’s cheerleaders is Potter, who helped turn the Seagulls into a Premier League force before leaving for serial Premier League winners Chelsea.

Ashworth said of Beard: “I’ve worked with Mark for a number of years, and he is one of the most forward-thinking and thorough coaches I have ever come across.

“He is diligent, hardworking and outstanding in his field.

“I’d like to send my sincerest congratulations to Mark on getting this job and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any players to go and work with him.

“I have no doubt he will be a great success at Eastbourne Borough.”

Reflecting on his time at Dorking, Mark says: “I must thank Marc White first and foremost for bringing me in after my time at Stockport County. I’ve of course known Wanderers for many years and been connected as a parent and a fan through my son Sam’s time playing for the club. It was an honour to then come in as Head of Coaching, and to have had the season we had the year I came in, starting out 14 points behind Maidstone at the top of the table, to then go on and have the run we did including the 10 game unbeaten streak mid-season and top it off with the play-off win is certainly one of the most special moments of my career – it was great to share that experience with the staff, the committee and the fans. This past year has been an amazing experience as well – we had up’s and down’s throughout the first National League season but it could go on to be one of the great achievement’s in the club’s history staying up. Some people had their doubts about us midway through the season after a good start, but we showed that ‘Wanderers way’ and spirit to ultimately prove them wrong.”

 
 
 

“It’s been an amazing time – I can’t thank Marc enough, he is the most supportive man I’ve ever met and was great with me in my time with the club. Thank you to all the players for their efforts every time in training, thank you to the fans and everyone connected to the club.”

 
 
 

Looking ahead to becoming Eastbourne Borough manager, Mark adds: “It’s been a whirlwind couple of days following Danny leaving the club – I spoke to Marc for a bit of advice and he was very supportive. I then had talks with Eastbourne and the opportunity has come about very quickly. I’m really pleased to have been given the opportunity and again thank Dorking for everything this past 18 months.”

 

Chairman and manager Marc White comments: ‘”I’m delighted for Beardy, who is much more than an employee at the club. He is a long term friend of myself and the football club, and we are delighted he has been given the opportunity to progress his career. We wish him all the very best for the future with Eastbourne’s new project.”

Fans reacted as Eastbourne Borough name the former footballer turned highly rated coach as their new manager…

@lewis23232: What an appointment, what a coach , all the best mark.

@MilesR502: The strong foundations set by the Danny’s team are a great platform for Mark to build for the future and take this great club forward. Welcome @markbeard37

@JayoT93: Good appointment. Time will tell on this one. I’m sure there’s still a few sour grapes over Danny leaving…

@north_seagull: Good luck Mark

@McDonaghPeter: He will be a great manager your going up

@herbertthomas26: You have yourself a top coach and a top bloke. Good luck Beardy.

@livbeard12: Show time!! Lessgooooo ❤️❤️❤️❤️

@chris_call1993: Some guy.

@Airmiles23: Good luck @markbeard37 what a man!!

@neilfissler: Bloody hell didn’t see that one coming @markbeard37

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