NEW Redditch United manager Tim Harris tasted defeat in his first game in charge of the Reds as Stratford Town secured a 2-0 victory at the Trico Stadium on Boxing Day.
Harris watched on in the stands as United were thrashed 5-0 at promotion hopefuls Weymouth on Saturday and his arrival proved insufficient to halt the Reds’ disappointing Southern League Premier form three days later.
Ben Stephens’ first half double put Stratford in command and Redditch’s best chance of the Boxing Day clash arrived two minutes into the second half when superb footwork from Tristian Dunkley created space for a shot which was brilliantly saved one-handed by Louis Connor.
However, chairman Chris Swan is delighted to have secured the services of Harris following the sacking of Darren Byfield and believes the 58-year-old can get the 15th-placed Reds climbing the table and enjoy a successful time at the helm.
Harris arrives at the Trico Stadium with a wealth of experience, having enjoyed managerial spells with Forest Green Rovers, Cinderford Town, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport County and, most recently, Gloucester City.
During two spells as manager with Gloucester, he first steered The Exiles away from the Southern League Premier Division relegation zone in 2006, before becoming general manager. In that position, he oversaw City’s promotion to the Football Conference at the end of the 2008/09 season by beating Farnborough at Wembley.
His reputation and considerable influence attracted Newport County to his services before the start of the 2009/10 season, with the Welsh side appointing Harris as director of football. He proved a pivotal figure during a five-year spell, which included historic promotions to the Conference South and Football League.
In February 2014, he returned to Gloucester as manager and, once again, saved the club from relegation.
Swan said: “On behalf of the board, players, staff and supporters, I would like to formally welcome Tim to the Trico Stadium. Upon meeting Tim, it became clear that his experience and vision for the future was exactly the kind of profile needed to take the club forward.
“Off the field, Redditch United is in a strong and sustainable position, so the time is perfect for the footballing side of the club to be developed and progression up the football pyramid. We both share the same ambitions and we look forward to delivering what the supporters have been waiting for and deserve.”
Harris, who donned the Redditch shirt in the late 1970s, is confident his work ethic and experience, along with the way the club is built and being run, will allow the Reds to move up the table.
He said: “I am proud and thrilled to become the new manager of Redditch United. Having met chairman Chris Swan and general manager David Tittershill, I believe the club and I are the perfect fit.
“This is an ambitious club and it was vitally important to myself that my next move in football was to a club that has potential, together with an infrastructure in place to progress.
“I am looking forward to working with the board, players, staff and supporters, to deliver lasting success that the whole town of Redditch can be proud of.”
The Reds face a daunting task on New Year’s Day when they visit title-chasing Hereford, before hosting Farnborough on Saturday, January 6.