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Grays Athletic already tipped to go up after reappointing serial FA Trophy winner

Grays Athletic are already tipped to go up from their league next season after reappointing serial FA Trophy winner Mark Stimson.

The 55-year-old, who comes in to replace Lewis Dark, signed his first contract as a professional with Tottenham Hotspur back in 1985. However, he was not able to secure a regular position in the team.

He moved to Newcastle United in 1989 and made more than 80 Football League appearances. Later, he played for Portsmouth, Southend United, and Leyton Orient.

He became manager of Grays Athletic, in 2002 and remained there until 2006, when linked up with Stevenage Borough. Grays won the FA Trophy Final in 2005 and 2006 with Stevenage repeating this feat in 2007.

He became the manager of a Football League club for the first-time in November 2007 when he took charge of one of his old clubs, Gillingham. However, he could not prevent the relegation of the club from League One by the end of the season 2007-2008. The following year, he led Gillingham to League One via the League Two playoff final. But, his contract was terminated when the team was relegated to League Two.

Stimson became the manager of League Two’s Barnet on the 1st of June 2010, but fired by the club’s board of directors at the beginning of 2011, when the team was near the bottom.

Later, he had a brief spell as a coach at Dagenham, before being manager of Conference club Kettering Town, but on the 4th of January 2012, Stimson left the Poppies with the team placed in the Conference relegation places.

Four months later he was appointed manager of Thurrock after the club’s relegation to the Isthmian League, and at the age of 49, Stimson was registered as a player again for the 2017–18 season and named himself as a substitute on a number of occasions.

On the 10th of May 2018, after departing Thurrock as a result of the club folding, Stimson was appointed manager of Waltham Abbey, but in November of the same year, he resigned in order to take over as manager of AFC Hornchurch, a club he led the club to the 2021 FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium, beating Hereford 3–1.

He now links up with Grays, after achieving two consecutive Isthmian Premier Play Off Finals with Hornchurch, but lost both times.

Grays are also will be hoping that the local authority approve a plan that will see his new club awarded the chance to play at the home of one of his former clubs, Thurrock FC.


Grays Athletic Football Club is delighted to announce that club legend Mark Stimson has agreed to become our first team manager for the second time in our history.

Mark brings with him a wealth of managerial experience and success that first started with the Blues back in 2002 where he led the club to its most successful period in our history, culminating in two FA trophy wins in 2005 and 2006.

After the disappointment of Lewis Dark standing down as manager following the defeat to Sudbury in the 2022-23 playoff semi-final, the Board has worked tirelessly to recruit a top class manager to propel the club forward and there is arguably, no one better in non-league football than Mark Stimson.

Grays Athletic Chairman Lee Vehit spoke of the club’s pride in securing the services of Mark Stimson and hoped the appointment was a sign of the club’s ambitions.

“We are incredibly pleased to be able to bring Mark Stimson into the football club as our new manager and hopefully this appointment is a statement of our intent this upcoming season on where we want to be going as a football club”.

“Myself and the Board have worked incredibly hard to make this appointment happen and I hope the fans are as excited as I am about our future and the potential we have as a football club. Mark’s love for Grays Athletic and his previous history with the club alongside his incredible achievements in the game make Mark the perfect person to help us realise our potential”.

“I’ve always said that Grays Athletic is a very special club, one with incredible support, history and people working tirelessly to make it somewhere that people of the calibre of Mark Stimson want to manage at”.

Mark has had a fabulous career to date and cannot wait to get started back at the club and had this to say about coming back to his spiritual home…..

“ITS GREAT TO BE BACK! I am really looking forward to being Grays Athletic manager again, my last time was so enjoyable and successful and after meeting the chairman and members of the Board I get a feeling of excitement. With everybody working hard both on and off the pitch we aim to bring the good times back to Grays Athletic. BE LOUD and PROUD – Stimmo.”

Grays Athletic Vice Chairman Gavin Holland had this to say following Mark’s appointment: “The appointment of someone of the calibre of Mark Stimson is an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up on. We hope the fans are happy with the Board’s decision and I’m sure they will make Mark feel right back at home. I personally cannot wait until the first game of the new season to cheer on the lads under Mark’s guidance. COYB”
Everybody at Grays Athletic Football Club wishes Mark the very best of luck as he restarts his journey with the Blues.

Make sure you are there to support Mark and the boys for the 2023-24 season. Details regarding Season tickets, the 200 Club and other exciting membership opportunities will be released shortly.

As mentioned, Grays Athletic are already tipped to go up after reappointing serial FA Trophy winner Mark Stimson…

@StevePepp: Great news, well done too everyone who made this happen 👏

@abarber485: good luck Stimo. nice to see you back. 👍

@Whitey_B: Put our name on that FA Trophy already…

@notthesmiths: Wow!

@OverTheHillUK: As a Gills fan, it’s good to see Stimmo still in management and him being back at Grays! 🤞 for a great season

@Lewhawkins1992: Ole ole ole ole Stimmo!

@trevage: Very obvious but absolutely the right call – gotta make them favourites for the Isthmian North

@WHUFC_Irons: This is massive for the club. The legend that is @Tonygay121 coming back is just as or even more exciting. #COYB

@essexfootie: Probably (at least in my circles) the worst kept secret. However, a big statement of intent from @GraysAthleticFC, with the start of Stimmo V2.

@jack_pittman96: I’ve woken up in 2005. What a time to be alive!

@JacobLewisP: Take me home 🏠 Stimmooooo!

@Mitch_0n_Twitch: Come on you blues! Stimmo is back! So glad.

@red_u11: That’s brilliant news, top quality manager who cares and loves the club. 👏👏👏👏👊🔵⚪️

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