Football in Bracknell
History & Nostalgia

Bracknell Town Football Club’s 21st century managers

Bracknell Town appointed former physio Ed Carpenter as first team manager on Wednesday night, becoming the Larges Lane clubs 13th boss of the 21st century

Clubs are regularly pilloried for having such a high turnover of managers, but it is worth remembering that four managerial appointments since 2000 have been ‘duo’s’, a trend started by brothers Clive & Mark Tallentire, who famously took the club to the First Round Proper of the FA Cup in 2000.

Hellenic League managerial merry-go-round hotting up

Clive & Mark Tallentire – 1999 t0 2001

Mark Tallentire - Photo Bracknell Times

Mark Tallentire – Photo Bracknell Times

Clive and Mark took over the joint-manager roll at Larges Lane in the summer of 1999 from Steve Roberts after the Robins relegation from Ryman League Division 2. Mark was a former player at the club (and returned as such under next manager Alan Taylor scoring a memorable goal) and the pair stabilised the club. He and brother Clive secured ‘legend’ status when a terrific start to the 2000/01 season saw an FA Cup run that only ended with a 4-0 defeat at then Football League Division 3 side Lincoln City at Sincil Bank.

It remains the clubs greatest day but the Robins ultimately finished 8th in the league that year and the pair stepped aside at the seasons conclusion.

Alan Taylor – 2001 to 2007

Former Farnborough Town boss Alan Taylor was appointed to lead a buoyant Robins, and set about his task with gusto, winning promotion at the first attempt to a re-organised Ryman League Division 1 South – a jump of two divisions.

A final day victory at Tooting & Mitcham secured Bracknell’s survival the following season and much was expected. However a further league re-organisation saw Bracknell move into the Southern League and fail to settle. The club were travelling regularly to the Midlands, stretching any budget. Taylor though ensured the Robins survival at that level and led the club to a Berks & Bucks County Cup final where they were beaten by Chesham United.

Jon Underwood 2007

Jon Underwood - Photo Surrey Advertiser

Jon Underwood – Photo Surrey Advertiser

‘Unders’ stepped into the hot-seat at Larges Lane, having served the club admirably at centre-back before injury curtailed the former Farnborough defender’s career.

Underwood was number 2 to Taylor and was promoted following his retirement.

Unfortunately for Underwood, results didn’t follow and with Christmas on the horizon, then chairman Chris Nixon wielded the axe.

Thankfully for the Larges Lane favourite, Underwood’s post Robins managerial career saw successful spells at Sandhurst Town, Godalming Town and he has just won promotion with Slough Town.

Andy Keen – 2007 (5 games)

Andy Keen - Photo Bracknell Times

Andy Keen – Photo Bracknell Times

Youth team manager Andy Keen was appointed ‘caretaker’ by the club following Underwood’s dismissal and was in charge for 5 games. Keen’s only defeat during that period was at promotion chasing Fleet Town.

Byron Walton – 2008 to 2009

Byron Walton - Photo Bracknell Times

Byron Walton – Photo Bracknell Times

Byron Walton was appointed manager in February 2008 with the club improving, but with the spectre of relegation hanging heavily over them. Walton led the Robins to safety, overhauling Slough Town on the final day of the season.

The following year, Bracknell started strongly, but were disqualified from the FA Cup for fielding an inelligible player and things went downhill from there, with Bracknell effectively relegated from the Southern League on the final day of the season having used well over 90 players.

Bracknell were granted a reprieve by the FA following a reshuffle, but it was to only postpone the inevitable.

Kerthney ‘KC’ Carty – 2009 (2 games)

The Maidenhead United Reserve team manager KC came to the club with big plans and a brand new squad, but left after just two games and two heavy defeats after a disagreement over budget.

David Tuttle – 2009 to 2010

Dave Tuttle - Photo Bracknell Times

Dave Tuttle – Photo Bracknell Times

Tuttle – the former Tottenham Hotspur defender and Millwall boss was appointed manager and swiftly set about building the fitness of the squad and replacing those that left with KC. Whilst results briefly improved, Bracknell ultimately only won two games all season and were relegated to the Hellenic League with no chance of reprieve.

During this period, Bracknell did loan several young players from Reading, one being Michael Hector who made his Championship debut for the club this season.

Steve McClurg & Richard Whitty – 2010 to 2011

Richard Whitty - Photo Bracknell Times

Richard Whitty – Photo Bracknell Times

Following relegation, Bracknell turned to former clubmen and players Steve McClurg and Richard Whitty. The pair steadied the ship and helped the Robins finish in 16th in their first season in the Premier Division.

There were several notable catches including Ben Knight and Rob Yorke-Goldney who both joined from Finchampstead.

Steve McClurg & Andy Keen – 2011 to 2012

Steve McClurg - Photo Bracknell Times

Steve McClurg – Photo Bracknell Times

Whitty took up a role at Binfield during the summer, and McClurg opted to appoint former youth team and caretaker boss Andy Keen. A poor start to the season though saw Windsor & Eton coach Mick Woodham join the pair in the dugout.

Unfortunately the team couldn’t halt the slide despite a fantastic run of form that included wins over Cheltenham Saracens and Ascot United at the end of the season, and the club were relegated on the final day at Reading Town.

Danny Oliphant & Steve Nebbett – 2012 to 2014

Steve Nebbet and Danny Oliphant. Bracknell Town Football Club first team managers

Steve Nebbet and Danny Oliphant. Bracknell Town FC first team managers

Largely thanks to McClurg and assistant Bob Langridge, the club appointed former players Danny Oliphant in 2012 in a bid to revitalise the club, now playing in Hellenic League Division 1 East.

The pair hit the ground running with a re-shaped squad, reaching the County Cup semi-final, and finishing fourth in the league. Bracknell were granted promotion though when it emerged Rayners Lane, Headington Amateurs and Woodley Town did not have the facilities to progress.

This season, the duo exceeded expections. Bracknell won their first three games and topped the table and a brilliant run of form at the end of the year saw them lose just two of 15 games. They reached the final of the Hellenic League Supplementary Cup and semi-final of the Reading Senior Cup.

Ed Carpenter – 2014 to present

New management team at Bracknell Town - L to R: Keith Penicott-Bowen, Ed Carpenter & Lee Simpson

New management team at Bracknell Town – L to R: Keith Penicott-Bowen, Ed Carpenter & Lee Simpson

Ed is the new man in having successfully guided the reserves to second in the league and winning the President’s Reserve Cup.

Tom Canning

Tom is the co-editor of FootballinBracknell. He has played at the lowest possible level of football. In real life Tom works for Trinity Mirror. Manager of Binfield Ladies in the Thames Valley Women's League.

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