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Club News

Head coach: Luke Williams

Respected coach takes the hotseat

14 June 2022

We have appointed Luke Williams as our new head coach.

Williams, 41, who arrives alongside assistant Ryan Harley, was previously head coach at Swindon Town and, most recently, assistant head coach to Russell Martin at Swansea City.

And our board of directors feel he is the perfect man to take us forward.

A statement reads: “We’re delighted that Luke and Ryan have joined us as our new head coach and assistant head coach.

“Between them they have the right management skills and experience of all EFL divisions, as well as the National League, which we believe will help us achieve our goal of promotion and getting back to where we feel we belong.

“Luke's values and playing principles are aligned with our own and we feel the continuity and consistency this brings will be a huge factor in ensuring a smooth transition to his leadership.

“We have been very impressed not only with Luke’s general character, but also his excitement about this opportunity and his fierce determination to succeed.

“He fully understands the pressure and expectation that comes with this role and we can see he’s ready to take on the challenge.

“Luke has already met with our recruitment team to discuss our current squad and ongoing transfer targets and we look forward to working closely with him to build a team which will give us the best possible chance of earning the promotion we all crave in 2022-23.”

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After a promising youth career was curtailed by injury at 20, Williams turned his hand to coaching.

His first major role came in the form of a three-year spell as Brighton and Hove Albion Under 21s manager, which led to his appointment as Mark Cooper’s assistant at League One side Swindon Town in 2013.

The pair led the Robins to the play-off final in 2014-15, losing out to Preston North End, and Williams continued in his role alongside interim chairman-manager Lee Power and then Martin Ling following Cooper’s departure.

Ling resigned in 2015, opening the door for Williams to take the caretaker manager’s role – an opportunity he grasped with both hands as, following an excellent run of results, he was handed a five-year contract as the club’s head coach with Power declaring him a ‘fantastic coach’ who was ‘the best I’ve come across in 25 years.’

Unfortunately, however, Williams’ control over footballing affairs was limited by the club’s deployment of a director of football and Swindon found themselves in a relegation battle which resulted in the club dropping into League Two and the mutual termination of Williams’ contract.

Williams made an immediate return to work by becoming head coach of Bristol City’s Under 23s, with then first team manager Lee Johnson and chief executive Mark Ashton both lauding the reputation Williams held within the game as an excellent coach.

Two years later, Williams teamed up with the newly-appointed Martin as his assistant at MK Dons before following him to the Championship when the Swans came calling.

Williams left that role in February due to personal reasons but is now looking forward to the challenge with us.

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Harley, meanwhile, enjoyed a long playing career which saw him experience life in every division of the EFL.

The 37-year-old also tasted non-league, winning the Conference play-offs with Exeter City before securing back-to-back promotions with the Grecians in League Two the following season.

The midfielder also won promotion with MK Dons in 2018-19 and coached there with Williams, who arrived at Stadium MK the following season.

Harley also played at Brighton and Swindon during Williams' time at both clubs.

An interview with Williams will follow shortly.

2022-23 season tickets are still available at the early bird price. Click here to get yours.

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