Chandler back as manager as Atkinson departs Whitley Bay

Ian Chandler.
Ian Chandler.
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Whitley Bay have re-appointed Ian Chandler as manager following the departure of Paddy Atkinson.

The announced on Sunday that Atkinson and the club had parted company.

But the club moved quickly to fill the vacancy and former manager Chandler has agreed to take over until the end of the season, when a permanent appointment will be made.

Chandler became a legend during three previous spells at Hillheads, the first two as a player, scoring a total of 156 goals, and then famously during ten years as manager when he led the club to a record three consecutive FA Vase triumphs at Wembley.

He left Hillheads two years ago and had an 18-month spell in charge at Durham City.

He will be assisted by another familiar figure in Glen Martin, who spent several years as club physio.

The club are currently just three points from the foot of the Ebac Northern League first division.

But Atkinson’s departure came just 24 hours after his side had won a hard fought local derby at Newcastle Benfield.

However, the 2-1 victory followed a run of six defeats in their previous seven games.

Fortunes had seemed much brighter earlier in the season when Whitley were the region’s most successful non league side in the FA Cup, enjoying a run that took them to the third qualifying round before suffering a narrow 3-2 defeat against National League North side Chorley.

Since then, though, they have suffered a slump in form and had dropped to 19th place before Saturday’s victory.

Defeat at home to bottom side Norton and Stockton Ancients last Tuesday saw the club’s fortunes at their lowest ebb and with fans calling for change.

Atkinson had been brought in to rebuild the side after taking over from Leon Ryan in January last year.

Several senior players departed and the manager brought in a number of youngsters to fill the gaps. Probably his best signing was striker Adam Shanks, a prolific scorer last season with second division Alnwick Town but unproven at first division level.

By mid-October Shanks had already bagged 20 goals, ranking him among the league’s leading scorers.

Whitley Bay Chairman Paul McIlduff said: “The club would like to thank Paddy for his efforts for the club over the past year and wish him the best of luck in the future.”