Former West Ham United coach Ian Hendon (pictured above) has taken his first training session as part of the Waterford FC coaching staff and will be the man that will in the dugout for Friday’s SSE Airtricity Relegation playoff clash with UCD at Richmond Park.
The 49-year-old, who played 131 times for Leyton Orient as a player, has been called upon by owner Richard Forrest to replace Marc Bircham following his sacking yesterday, and the arrival of Hendon on Suirside an attempt to steady the ship ahead of the massive game against the Students.
Hendon, who appeared seven times for the English Under 21 side during this International career, met and held his first training session with the current squad earlier today ahead of the one of the biggest games in the clubs recent history, and his experience at coaching at Premier League level may prove vital to the survival hopes.
News on Hendon’s arrival to Waterford broke in the earlier hours of this morning with Irish Examiner soccer correspondent John Fallon breaking the story that the former defender would be at the helm for the relegation playoff.
It was confirmed in a brief statement from the club this evening. It read: “Waterford FC can confirm that Ian Hendon has joined the coaching staff for Friday’s playoff vs UCD in Richmond Park. Ian will support Dave Bell, the staff and players who are united as a collective in preparing for Friday’s match.
“The experienced Englishman played for Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient among others and earned U21 caps for England, before coaching roles over the past 15 years including at West Ham United, Leyton Orient and most recently in Gibraltar.”
After winning the FA Charity Shield in 1991 as a player with Tottenham Hotspur, he spent loan spells with Portsmouth, Orient, and Barnsley, he made the move to Leyton Orient in 1993 where he was a regular for the club in a four-year spell winning a spot in the PFA Third Division Team of the year back in the 1996-97 season.
Further playing spells followed at Notts County, Northampton Town, and Sheffield Wednesday, before Hendon finished his playing career at Barnet where he appeared 139 times scoring 19 of his 37 career goals in English football at the Bees.
He went become caretaker manager at the club back in 2004 before he appointed first team boss four years later where he spent two seasons at the club. After spending time at Dover Athletic and Gillingham, he made the move to West Ham United in 2011 where he was appointed as development coach by Sam Allardyce.
Hendon was then promoted to first team coach in December 2012 at West Ham in place of Wally Downes before returning to Leyton Orient as first team manager back in 2015 to replace Fabio Liverani after their relegation from league Two.
His departure from Brisbane Road occurred in January 2016, and after spending some time as assistant manager at Ebbsfleet United, he became manager of Europa Point of Gibraltar in 2019, before his arrival on Suirside as the new boss of Waterford FC.
During his managerial career to date that has seen a total of 118 games, Hendon has a 32.2% strike rate winning 38 games, drawn 36 games, and losing 44 games, but there’s no doubting that the Blues will be hoping that he can make it 39 wins at Inchicore.
Hendon’s experience as a player over a 20-year time span and that of coaching in the Premier Division will be a massive boost to the first team squad, and he’ll now with the support the team in their bid to secure the clubs top division status for the 2022 season.