Harry Hudson wants to continue blazing a trail for younger managers in non-league football after joining Whyteleafe from Croydon FC.
The 28-year-old took his former outfit to fifth in the Southern Counties East division last season – up from 11th in the previous campaign – before parting “on good terms” after just a year in the hot seat.
His good work at Croydon was noted by Whyteleafe chairman Mark Coote, who wants the Surrey club to push on in the Isthmian League Division One.
Hudson’s reign at Church Road began in positive fashion with a 3-1 home win over Guernsey at the weekend.
The Uefa B licence coach, who has also managed Merstham FC Under-21s, told Elephant Sport: “This is a better and bigger club.
“The move was made for me to continue progressing in my management career.”
Hudson has not severed his ties with Croydon completely, however. He remains a director at the club and will continue to help them develop young players through the Kinetic Foundation Academy.
Former Under-18s manager Craig Davies is now in charge of the first team at the Croydon Sports Arena.
Hudson believes he left Croydon in good shape, bringing in a different brand of football and establishing a fresh sense of optimism at the club.
“It went well,” he said. “We improved our league position on the season before I took charge and our style of play was a joy to watch. Many of the players improved on where they were at the beginning of the campaign.
“The most important thing is we have created a philosophy within the club which everyone is aware of and follows; it is how we play. So thing are looking very positive going forward.”
Hudson also played his part in helping Croydon to become more stable after many years of financial problems, and the club now has the funding in place to improve its stadium
Hudson is proud of his involvement with the Kinetic Foundation Academy, a registered charity, which has proved to be a great production line of young talent for both Croydon and bigger clubs.
“Most of Croydon FC’s players have come through my academy, and this is what gave us the quality and style of play last season. We provide a platform to develop these aspiring footballers which includes regular training and 11 a-side matches.
“We have a tight budget. However, I have proved in the past that I can work within a club’s means and have a good season”
– Harry Hudson
“There are lots of professional clubs in and around South London and beyond and, if young players really buy into our set-up, we allow them to showcase their talent.”
In the past four years, clubs such as Manchester City, Burnley, Charlton and Crystal Palace have recruited from the Kinetic Academy, while other players have been snapped up by non-league teams.
Hudson is continuing his work with Kinetic, which has gained a tremendous amount of respect from scouts and clubs, alongside his new managerial role.
“We have an outstanding reputation for recruitment and have many players who want to join our programme,” he added.
Hudson is aiming for a top-half finish with Whyteleafe this season and believes a push for the play-offs is not out of the question, despite lacking the resources of some of their rivals.
“We have a tight budget,” he admitted. “However, I have proved in the past that I can work within a club’s means and have a good season.
“We have brought a number of players into our squad from Croydon and also have attracted new talent. I’d say we’ve made a great start so far.
‘The players are on a high after the first win [over Guernsey], but we must focus and make sure we put in a good performance in our next game.”
The future is looking bright for both Whyteleafe and their ambitious young manager.