WEST Ham United legend Julian Dicks will be back at the helm of Heybridge Swifts as first team manager from July 1, writes JON LONGMAN.

Dicks will resume his partnership with former Colchester United legend Karl Duguid that saw the Swifts win the Isthmian North play-off final at Maldon and Tiptree in 2019, only to be denied a promotion to the Isthmian Premier due to the FA non-league reshuffle.

Dicks is still fuming about the inept decision that he still brands as “a ridiculous decision”.

Dicks confirmed: “I have unfinished business with the club.

“I relish the opportunity to put that right in the 2021/22 season that starts on August 14 after the club has had two abortive campaigns to right that wrong as a result of the Covid crisis.”

He spent a successful period as West Bromwich Albion coach alongside manager Slaven Bilic that saw them gain automatic promotion to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Dicks admits that Albion have found life tougher this season but adds: “I was surprised that the Albion board pushed the panic button despite our excellent away results at Liverpool and Manchester City.”

Swifts chairman Gary White said that bringing Dicks back to the Swifts was “an easy decision to make” and confirmed that he hoped he would be able to keep the existing coaching team together.

White stressed the importance of a strong structure and continuity, given the great ability already existing within the coaching team.

White said: “Successful clubs, just like businesses, build structure over time and constant changes and labour turnover does not help the playing side.

“I see so many EFL and Premier League clubs chop and change managers and backroom staff and that causes huge over runs in costs in terms of players wages as inevitably they move on too when a manager changes.

“The average tenure of managers in the pro game is just over 12 months and some clubs change two or three times per season, as seen at Salford City.

“In my opinion a manager needs at least 18 months to get his squad right and to get their playing style properly defined and established.

“When we had Jody Brown, it was only from his third season with the club that we really started to fly and the legacy he created we are still benefiting from to this day.

“At Swifts, our key objective longer term is to create our own players and develop talent from within with players progressing from under-19 to 23 and to first team.

“We saw the first signs of this starting to work in the aborted 2020-21 season and in fact the last league goal scored by Swifts, a courageous towering header from young Joe Debell, proved to be the final one of the season.

“Joe was just starting to challenge hard for a first team place and we have high hopes for him of course.

“Working under Julian, it is hoped he will soon develop further as will other young players.

“Just look at the example with 18-year-old defender Jayden Randall who broke into the first team with five games to go in 2019 and starred in the successful play-off team to see what can be achieved by Julian and Karl in terms of developing young talent.

“Jayden now plays in the National South, two levels higher than Swifts."