Aldershot Town have announced the return of Gary Waddock as First-Team Manager on a rolling contract.
The former Republic of Ireland and Queen’s Park Rangers midfielder, who leaves his role as Assistant First-Team Coach at Barnet, previously led The Shots into the Football League in 2008 as he won the Blue Square Premier title with a then-record total of 101 points.
That season also saw records set for victories in a Conference season (31) and most number of home wins by Aldershot FC or Aldershot Town, with 18, as well as triumph in the Setanta Shield and a run to the semi-final of the FA Trophy.
“It’s a situation I never thought I’d be in but I’m delighted to be here,” said Waddock. “It’s a nice feeling. I like to assemble squads that I would like to watch. I’ve missed the people here and I’ve missed the supporters – the atmosphere they created at home games was amazing and I loved that. We have to be able to give them something to cheer about and we’re going to try our best to get this place rocking again.”
“Gary was clearly the number one choice for a lot of supporters, and he was our number one choice too,” explained Chairman Shahid Azeem. “The Board have listened to what the fans have told us, but it was a tough decision. Ultimately, though, we need somebody who will galvanise the Club and bring supporters back to the EBB Stadium.
“I would again like to thank Barry Smith for his hard work at the Club, and equally for the honourable way in which he conducted himself throughout the season. Now we look to the future, with the Club united behind our manager, and I hope that all Aldershot Town supporters are as excited about what Gary can achieve here as we are.”
The Kingsbury-born 54 year-old began his career with Queen’s Park Rangers in 1979 and rapidly forged a fine reputation as a tough-tackling midfielder. In a career spanning 491 Football League appearances, Gary played in the 1982 FA Cup Final, won the Second Division championship in 1982-83, and subsequently played for Charleroi, Millwall, Swindon Town, Bristol Rovers and Luton Town. He also won 21 caps for the Republic of Ireland and narrowly missed out on selection for the 1990 World Cup.
Gary’s coaching career began back at Loftus Road, with the Rangers Academy, from where he graduated, in February 2006, to first-team manager.
Having taken The Shots into the Football League in his first season, Aldershot Town finished 15th in League Two and had risen to sixth when, after two-and-half-years at the EBB Stadium, Gary was appointed manager of Wycombe Wanderers, in October 2009. He led the Chairboys to promotion back into League One in 2011.
Following a spell as Head of Coaching at MK Dons, Gary was appointed Head Coach at Oxford United and, in 2014, Assistant Manager and then Caretaker Manager at Portsmouth. He joined Barnet last year but now returns to management with the Club where he made his name.