NEW Redditch United boss Paul Smith has wasted no time in beginning his TRICO Stadium revamp by signing three players in his first four days in the job.
Former Bromsgrove Sporting manager Smith was announced as the Reds’ new boss on Monday after previous incumbent Paul Davis left by mutual consent following Saturday’s dismal 5-1 defeat at home to Coalville Town which left United second-bottom of Southern Premier Central.
With Saturday’s local derby at Stratford Town his first assignment in charge, Smith has swooped to sign midfielder Robbie Bunn, full-back Sam Tye and American centre-back Ed Wagner.
Wagner has joined on an initial one-month loan from Kidderminster Harriers, whilst Bunn – predominantly an attacking midfielder who can play both centrally and on the right-hand side – returns to his hometown club following spells with Bromsgrove Sporting and Highgate United.
Former Stourbridge and Lye Town full-back Tye, who was also under Smith’s stewardship at Highgate United, bolsters the Reds’ defensive ranks and United are hopeful all three will be available this weekend.
Smith said: “Ed is highly-rated by the coaching staff at Kidderminster, but they felt he needed some game time. At 6ft 3in, he will add power and strength to our squad and will add competition for places.
“Robbie is a player with the calibre and talent who I want in the squad. He is a player I know well, I trust and I know will be a huge capture for us as we look to build a team.
“The fans will love him, he will add physicality to our team but also be the creative spark in midfield and Sam will add pace and more physicality.
“I had watched Sam for 18 months before he joined Highgate, so he is someone I have monitored closely and know his strengths. At 6ft 2in, he is different to the average build of a full-back, but he has pace and strength, which means he will be an attacking threat but a solid defender, too.”
Smith, who will confirm his backroom staff in due course, is familiar with his new club following a stint as assistant manager during the 2009/2010 season and revealed it was his time with the Reds which inspired him to become a manager.
Memorably, he was dubbed ‘the greatest manager’ in Bromsgrove Sporting’s history following a highly successful period at the club. He joined the Rouslers in 2014 and led the club to a second-placed finish in Midland League Division One.
Another runners-up place and two cup final appearances awaited Smith and his players the following season, before achieving the almost impossible by ending the next league campaign unbeaten champions.
That season, Sporting also got within one step of Wembley when they reached the semi-final of the FA Vase before losing to eventual runners-up Cleethorpes Town.
He departed the club in March 2018, with the team sitting top of the Midland League Premier Division with 15 games to go. He then joined Highgate United as joint-manager this summer, but left earlier this month and is now focused on steering the Reds to safety.
Smith said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to manage a club as big as Redditch United. I want the football club and town to be united, with the supporters proud of their town and football club.
“There are solid foundations in place behind the scenes for the club to push on. My next job needed to be a long-term project and, having spoken with the chairman at length, I believe we share the same ambitions.”
Smith’s first role in management was with Alvechurch – the club where he made more than 250 appearances as a player. In two seasons, he and his side achieved consecutive top-six finishes before he moved to Studley, where, once again, he achieved top-six finishes – the club’s best positions for 15 years.
Reds chairman Chris Swan said: “Paul Smith’s record as manager, especially with Bromsgrove Sporting, is terrific. He knows how to build a team, thanks to his passion, knowledge and professionalism and all of those attributes are key ingredients as we look to emerge from what has been a difficult start to the season.
“It is a cliche but we are in transition once more. I will work closely with Paul to ensure the club achieves its potential, but, immediately, all of us need to get down to work and work hard to move away from the relegation zone.
“I ask our fans to give Paul a warm welcome and, as always, give your full support because we need them more than ever.”