Walsall have announced the appointment of former Bristol Rovers boss Darrell Clarke as their new manager.
Clarke has signed a three-year deal with the Saddlers who suffered relegation from League One on the final day of the campaign after a poor run of form that saw them win just five league games from the end of October and ended their twelve-year stay in the third tier.
Clarke arrives in the West Midlands with an excellent pedigree having guided his previous club Bristol Rovers to back to back promotions before leaving the Gas in December by mutual consent.
Rovers had lost seven of their previous ten games in all competitions and were twenty-first in League One, four points from safety when he departed.
The forty-one-year-old initially joined the Gas as the assistant to John Ward, who now happens to be Walsall’s professional development coach, in June 2013 after a spell as boss of non-league Salisbury City.
He replaced Ward as the manager in March 2014 with the Gas struggling at the wrong end of the League Two table but failed to guide them to safety, and they dropped out of the EFL for the first time in ninety-four years.
However, he then led them to an immediate return to League Two, beating Grimsby on penalties in the National League play-off final at Wembley, and followed this up with automatic promotion from the fourth tier on the final day of the season at the first attempt in 2015/16.
Judging by the reaction on Twitter Clarke is still very popular in Bristol, with the announcement of his appointment dominated by messages of goodwill from Gas fans.
Here is a small selection of their responses.
Its like seeing an ex with a new partner. All the best DC (I still love u ?) #UTG
— The Beard (@brfc83) May 10, 2019
I love how most of the comments here are from gasheads #utg
— Kath Savery (@KatSav78) May 10, 2019
Good luck DC, it pains me to see you with someone else ?. #UTG
— Dr Legg (@UTG1883) May 10, 2019
You lucky things! All the best, he’s a great manager.
— Jade (@jade0208) May 10, 2019
I wish you all the best
(from a Bristol Rovers fan)
— Holmz (@holmz1980) May 10, 2019
Good luck DC, part of me feels sick seeing him at another club, however I'm happy to see him back in management ??
— Sam (@BRFCAdams) May 10, 2019
Get ready for a rollercoaster season..He will get you promoted ??#UTG
— Phil Rugman (@Namgur45) May 10, 2019
Wow you are so lucky to have him! what a guy!! Best of luck D.C. we all miss you ?⚽️ #UTG
— Katy pullin (@Kpz2005) May 10, 2019
Just like to say good luck to you DC UTG ?⚪️?⚪️
— Blackbeard (@ericbeard1883) May 10, 2019
Can we have him back where he belongs please ?
— Dom (@OatleyDominic) May 10, 2019
Absolute legend. Hope he does well for you guys
— Mike Arnold (@MikeOnHorn) May 10, 2019