Ryan praises players as he is appointed permanent manager at Whitley Bay

Leon Ryan, right, and his assistant Steve Foster as the announcement of their full-time appointment was made to the crowd before Saturday's game.

Leon Ryan, right, and his assistant Steve Foster as the announcement of their full-time appointment was made to the crowd before Saturday's game.

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Leon Ryan has been confirmed as manager of Whitley Bay six weeks after being handed the role on a temporary basis.

The news was announced to the crowd at Hillheads just before kick-off on Saturday and comes after Ryan had led the side to six wins and two draws in the nine games since taking over following the resignation of Ian Chandler in February.

Aided by his assistant Steve Foster and fitness coach David Berry, the new boss has overseen a rapid upturn in fortunes at Hillheads.

And six players have already committed themselves to the club by signing two-year contracts.

The latest to sign on the dotted line are Chris Reid, Craig McFarlane and newcomer Thomas Bott, whose deals were agreed after Saturday’s victory over Team Northumbria.

Whitley Bay chairman Paul McIlduff said: “I am delighted that Leon, Steve and David now have their positions confirmed on a permanent basis.

“Over the past few weeks they have got Whitley back to playing the attractive winning football that we are known for. They have put a smile back on the players and supporters faces.”

Leon Ryan said it was “great news” and heaped praise on Foster and Berry.

Foster added that although neither man had previous management experience, “between us we have had captaincy and a lot of playing experience at this level and this is helping us to get the best out of the players”.

Both men were keen to emphasis that the players deserved great credit for their attitude and performances in recent weeks.

Ryan said he believed that with just one or two further additions he will have a side capable of challenging at the top of the Northern League next season, and he thanked the chairman and board for their support of his plans.