Manager History

Paul Taylor: 1995-1997

Originally joined the club as a player under George Wakeling, in the late 1980’s, after a marvellously successful career at Conference level, for Enfield, where he carried of many titles and County Cups and scored the winning goal in a FA Trophy Final against Altrincham and Dagenham.

After a couple of seasons, followed Wakeling to Bromley, where he became player/coach.

Rejoined us as a player in season 1994/95, under Peter MacGiddiccudy and was then thrust into the manager’s role, when Macca quit just before a home game.

Took to the role with relish and his determined, agreesive attitude was just what we needed as we fought to avoid relegation.

After bringing in my former team mates to help the side, we finally, got clear of relegation, after signing two good strikers in Ben Barnett and Dave Flint.

The following season, saw us merge with Leyton Pennant and despite our opening day disappointment of a 1-0 defeat against Ruslip manor, we finished in fifth place, after a poor first half of the season and also reached the London Challenge Cup Final at Millwall, losing 3-2 in extra time to our former manager Wakeling and his Bromley side.

The following season hopes were high, but, we finished just above mid-table positions, although we did achieve another appearance in the London Challenge Cup Final, again losing to Uxbridge 1-0 at Hendon, in a reply, after we had led in the original game, at Craven Cottage 2-0 at half time, only to end the match, level at 3-3, after extra time.

After an up and down start to the following season, he was lured away to Isthmian Premier side Bishop Stortford, who were fighting a relegation battle.

We beat his Stortford side in a mid-week floodlight league game a fortnight later, which was satisfying for us.

He managed to save his new club from relegation in the final match of the season at Yeading, but he only lasted a few months into the new season and has not managed anywhere else at non-league level since.

Kevin Moran: 1997-1998

Kevin had about four spells as manager at our club and for the rest of the time, occupied the role of general football manager, the link between the committee, often funding the players wages with his own money

First came to the club to replace, George Wakeling at the start of season 1990/91 and faced an impossible task of keeping us in the Isthmian Premier, with vastly reduced funds and no players from the previous season remaining.

He had to try and rebuild the side with players from his former club Southgate and at a similar level, in the Spartan League.

He did manage to attract a vastly experienced player in Nicky Ironton who had been at Barking/Enfield and an England international, but, even then luck was against him as Ironton suffered a very bad injury which restricted his appearance to just a handful at the start of that season.

Up until march of that season, it looked as if we would ahve fighting chance of staying up, as we were bracketeed with a couple of other clubs in the bottom three.

However, a disasterous run of results, saw us end the campaign, rock bottom and in Division One.

He did manage to stabilise our position in mid-table, but, felt he was going “stale” in his team talks and decided to hand over team affairs to Peter MacGillicuddy.

When MacGillicuddy left a few seasons later, Paul Taylor took over, but, after his departure, Moran was back in the hot seat in the early months of season 1997/98, after Taylor left for Bishops Stortford.

After another short spell as manager, he appointed Trevor Harvey as manager, returning to his general manager role and the two of them oversaw Leyton pennant’s, first ever trophy as we won the Eastern Counties Floodlight Cup, with a 2-1 win at Braintree.

Harvey left and Moran was back in the role again, until he appointed Lyndon Lynch as manager and we won our successive Eastern Counties Floodlight Cup, thrashing Tiptree.

Sadly, his last period as general manager, the following season, we were relegated with former reserve team manager, Martin Busson in charge of the side

He did get the opportunity to return to the club, as a possible Chairman, but, declined as he said he could not work with one particular member of the committee.

Always an enthusiastic person, he was the driving force behind the team for several years and will probably be remembered for his unusual method of paying players win bonus – not with cash, but, with meat, due the fact he was the owner of a meat company in Smithfield market.

Lyndon Lynch: 1998-2000

As a player he enjoyed a couple of spells and was a popular goal scorer, winning the Athenian League for the Leyton-Wingate side of 1975/76, he also went to play for Bishops Stortford in an epic FA Cup run a few years later.

As a manager, he enjoyed success, both before and after, but, with us, early success lead to relegation.

He came to us, having been manager at Woodford Town, who he took to the first round proper of the FA Cup, losing a tight game to Leyton Orient and then took Romford to the Championship of the Essex Senior League

He then guided Clapton to their highest ever finish in the Isthmian League Division Two, just above the relegation zone – no mean achievement fro a club, virtually bankrupt and used to finishing bottom of the table, almost every season

He arrived at our club, when Kevin Moran decided he needed to bring in a fresh face, once again and for a while it looked like the ideal appointment.

Improvement in League results, the introduction of some obviously talented young players and the Eastern Counties Floodlight Cup in the trophy cabinet in his first four months in charge, seemed to bode very well for the next season.

At the end of August, we sat in third spot unbeaten and everything looked good.

But, gradually our form dipped, he continually changed the team line up without success and by February the following year, incredibly, we were now fighting a relegation battle.

Just before Easter, with one week left in the transfer window he resigned and his successor, Martin Busson, had little or no time to bring in new faces and he was never going to be able to stop the rot and down we went.

After leaving us, Lynch saw success as assistant to Craig Edwards at clubs like Ford United and Aveley and managed the English Learning Disabilities national team to a couple of tournament wins, but, for us, the magic just did not happen.

Martin Busson: 2000

One of the most successful reserve team managers ever at our club. In his three years in charge, we either won our League or a cup, or on one occasion, both.

He left us to manage the first team at Waltham Abbey, then in the Essex Senior League and took great delight in bringing his side to knock us out of a cup competition in the early part of the 2000/2001 season.

Kevin Moran brought he back to try and save an almost un-savable situation for us, when Lyndon Lynch walked away in March 2001.

He had about one and half weeks, to recruit new players to turn the tide, before the transfer window closed and not unsurprisingly, could not get the quality players, especially, up front to save us.

The following season, he started with a clean slate, but, the team struggled, in the lower Division and there was a real chance that we would be relegated for a second successive season, until he was relieved of his duties and succeeded by Tommy Lee.

Tommy Lee: 2000-2001

Tommy Lee brought a style of football to Pennant which had not been seen for quite some time. Lee’s side was agricultural to say the least, but a run of 12 games unbeaten between March and April, saw Pennant move from relegation certainties, to comfortably mid-table. During this unbeaten run, Pennant only conceded six goals. However, a shocking disciplinary record saw the club summoned before the FA. This lack of discipline was ultimately Lee’s downfall, and he was asked to step down at the end of the season.

Colin Richards: 2001-2002

Colin Richards’ side was something of an enigma. Pennant would finish 6th in the Isthmian League Division 2, playing a brand of aggressive, attacking football. There was also an excellent run in the FA Vase to enjoy. The 2001-2 squad was essentially a group of young, local friends who came together to form an incredible bond both on and off the pitch. Some of the team’s antics off (and on) the pitch do not bear repeating, but ultimately, Richards led one of the most pleasurable teams in the club’s history.

Danny Honeyball: 2002-2003

Came to the club in order to train and get himself back to full fitness after a knee injury and ended up being offered the role of manager, when Colin Richards resigned.

At just 24 he was, with Richard Thomas of Barking, the youngest person ever to manage at senior level.

Found the going tough on a limited budget, but managed to keep the club away from the bottom two positions in the table, but, readily admitted that the problem was one of a proven goal scorer.

As we came to February 2003, the club had a new owner, Harry Ramis and after half a dozen games, Danny was dismissed to make way for Harry’s brother Hakan.

Hakan was given access to a budget the Danny never had access to – Hakan managed to keep the club, would Danny have been able to do the same on the same budget – we will never know.

Hakan Ramis-Hayrettin: 2003-2006

Hakan had enjoyed a career in the Football League and at non-league level at a multitude of clubs, most notably, Barnet, Wycombe Wanders, where he was part of the side that won the FA Trophy at Wembley and Enfield.

He was appointed manager, by his brother, in March 2003 and managed to keep the club in Isthmian League Division Two winning the penultimate game of the season to secure our safety.

The following season saw massive investment in the team, that had never been seen before and will probably never be seen again.

A whole squad was signed on contract, before a competitive ball had been kicked and we saw the return of some old favourites, like Paul Salmons, Billy Read and Tony Samuels as well as plenty of other experienced Isthmian players, like Wayne Brown & Gavin King.

Sadly, for whatever reason, the team, after a promising start, where we were in the top five, started to slip down the table.

By Christmas, most of the contract players had left and by the end of the season, only King was left out of the side that started that August.

A great opportunity was missed by us as that season, due to the increase in the Conference structure, we only needed to be in the top ten to qualify as an Isthmian Premier side, the following season – we finished a lamentable thirteenth.

It was obvious, from those players recruited in the next campaign, that the budget was being reigned in slightly, with hardly any players on contract and players who had less experience being brought to the club.

It was a mid-table season once again, where we reached the heights in some games, but, generally, flattered to deceive.

Hakan’s final season in charge was the best of the three, with ironically, the least available level of budget.

We utilised our link to the Barking Abbey School of Excellence and wen, very much for youth and not only did we just miss out on the play-offs but won the Essex Senior Cup for the first time in decades, albeit with a walk over, after two teams in the other semi-final, Braintree & Chelmsford, were kicked out of the competition when a mass brawl led to the referee abandoning the match.

We also saw our under 18’s youth side progress to the last sixteen of the FA Youth Cup, the only non-league side remaining in the competition at that stage.

Harry decided to leave the club at the end of that season and Hakan moved on to manage Conference South side Thurrock, then on to Grays Athletic and was then recruited by Luton Town manager, John Still, as his assistant.

David Muir: 2006

Having been number two, to Hakan in 2005/2006 season and a strong link to the Barking Academy, it was decided to promote Dave to the role as manager in the hope he could utilise his young charges to replace many of the team who had followed Hakan out of the door.

Sadly, the team was almost entirely all youth players with limited experience in senior non-league football and after a close defeat to AFC Sudbury in the opening League game, there followed three more defeats, each one more comprehensive than the one before and the committee under the new Chairmanship of Terry Back, felt they needed to act and sacked Muir and brought back Danny Honeyball, to replace him.

Muir was not without quality players in his side, including Alfie Potter who went on to enjoy success both in the Football lLague and at senior non-league level and is still doing so today, but, the blend just was not right.

Danny Honeyball: 2006-2007

Danny returned to the club after a call from his friend Terry Back.

Now a fully qualified FA coach, he brought in a player called Victor Renner as his assistant and between them they managed to attract senior non-league players to the club, more out of friendship than the financial regards.

Although not immediately reaping the rewards, the team started to climb the table and was a side transformed and finished a creditable seventh and until the final few weeks had a chance to qualify for the play-offs – a remarkable feat, considering the disastrous start to the season.

Renner left the club the following season and took about half the side to Potters bar Town with him and Danny struggled, on a restricted budget, to rebuild a side that would be in the play off mix, but, good enough to more than hold it’s own in the top half of the table

In October 2007, he followed Back out of the door to move to fellow Division One side Arlesey Town – ironically, the fixture list threw up the usual “can you believe it” match – at home to us – the match ended 2-2

Louis Affor & Mike Small: 2007

New Chairman, Azumah Cofie, immediately appoint the duo of Affor & Small to run the side after the resignation of Danny Honeyball, but, their tenure was short lived.

Small had been a striker at West Ham ten years before but, his pedigree and that of Affor, was limited at our level.

After the 2-2 draw at Arlesey Town results fluctuated, not surprisingly,as they were being asked to include players the Chairman was bringing to the club – most of whom had been nowhere near an Isthmian League club or any senior club at any level of non-league football, for that matter.

They departed almost without anyone noticing before Christmas of that year.

Kevin Durrant: 2008

Kevin Durrant’s time at the club was indicitive of the mess the first team was in during the 2007-8 season. Durrant’s first game in charge of the first team came as a surprise to most of the supporters and committee, who were not aware that Durrant had been appointed. Indeed, there is still some doubt as to whether Durrant was actually appointed by the committee, or if he appointed himself. In his six games in control of the first team, he only managed to pick up one point – in a 0-0 home draw with Aveley. Following on from picking up a point in his second game, he would go on to lose against Brentwood Town (twice), Canvey Island and Ware, before eventually being shown the door.

Ged Searson: 2008

Ged Searson had managerial experience at London ASPA and a couple of other clubs in the Essex Senior League, but, sadly, that experience had been mostly a losing one.

The Chairman said he appointed Ged as he kept hearing good things about him from many sources.

All observes said that his coaching methods were superb, very up to date an innovative and he did manage to keep the team in the division with another escape act, coming in the last two matches.

Whilst we had a more settled side, with more experience on show and a few talented players, the following season copied the pattern of the previous one, namely, more defeats that draws or wins.

In September 2008 Ged left, mainly due to travelling difficulties – he did not have a car and we were no longer running even a mni-bus to games

Tony Ievoli: 2008-2009

Came to the club from Thurrock where he had graduated to reserve team manager from being in charge of the youth team.

Most of his youth team players had been promoted into the reserves and he brought almost all of that side with him.

His first game in charge of our first team, saw most of these players turn out for us and were trounced 7-0 by Enfield.

Things did improve despite that minous scoreline and performances were certainly better than for several months, but, we just could not win games and in January 2009, new Chairman, Isaac Johnson replaced Tony with player Wale Ojelabi.

Tony went to manage at Leyton FC, but, did not last long under Costas Sophocleous and then took up the role at Haringey & Waltham Development who then changed their name to Greenhouse London FC and is now in charge of fellow ESL side Wadham Lodge.

Wale Ojelabi: 2009

In the first of two spells in charge, Wale was given the task of saving the club from almost certain relegation. He performed miracles, including a 2-1 victory in his first game in charge over an then-first placed Aveley. Forest went on to lose just once in Wale’s first nine games in charge, ensuring relegation was avoided for another year, at least. Following a falling-out with then-Chairman Isaac Johnson, Wale left his post only a few days before the start of the 2009-10 season.

Kevin Head & Bert Hoyte: 2009

Bert Hoyte was Wale Ojelabi’s assistant manager, while Kevin Head was cub physiotherapist going into the 2009-10 season. Both stepped in to fill the void left by the departing Ojelabi. Despite being unbeaten for the first seven games of the season, Isaac Johnson felt the dual managerial team were not up to standard.

Phil Miles: 2009-2010

A rather strange appointment – having relieved Kevin Head & Bert Hoyte after an unbeaten run of games, Isaac Johnson appointed Phil Miles, who was previously at Chatham & Thamesmead in the wilds of Kent and the players they were interested in bringing to the club were having to make the long trek to our ground in Ilford.

Results went okay, but, certainly not an improvement on those that had gone before and the management team were relieved of their duties,rather strangley in March, with no time for any new manager to make a difference to our placing in the table, which was in the middle of the pile.

Tony Mercer: 2010

Similarly to Kevin Durrant’s reign over the first team, Tony Mercer seemed to be another self-appointed manager, when he took over at the end of the 2009-10 season.

His first proper game in charge of the 2009-10 season was a 0-0 draw with Redbridge. The final three matches of the 2009-10 season passed without real incident, as the first team secured a mid-table place. Ahead of the 2010-11 season, Mercer convinced the committee that he was the right man to take the club forward, but boardroom promise was not backed up by performances on the pitch.

20 games into the 2010-11 season, Forest had only picked up one win, and as a result, Mercer was removed from his post as manager.

Wale Ojelabi: 2010-2013

Wale Ojelabi returned to the club midway though the 2010-11 season, with the sole mission of saving the club from relegation again. He failed in his goal to perform another miracle, with the club finishing in 21st position in the league table. However, a turn-around in performances under Ojelabi, including a massive last-day win over Maldon & Tiptree meant that Forest were given a repreive at the mercy of the Football Association, with Forest being one of the best-placed relegated sides on points-per-game.

Turgut Esendagli: 2013-2015

Having engineered our return to Wadham Lodge he tried to bring in young, mostly untried players, to cope with the rigours of Isthmian League football and the opening historical game, turned from being a joyous return, into a nightmare, the hosts losing 5-0.

That signalled a season of struggle, even when the manager recruited some more experienced players, results only slightly improved and relegation into the Essex Senior League, for the first time in the club’s history was finalised with several games remaining in the campaign

The following season, the side got off to another sluggish start but, the manager and players gradually adjusted and after some promising results – including an eight-match unbeaten run – a mid-table position was achieved.

Terry Fogarty: 2015

Due to Turgut having to enter hospital for a serious, possibly, life threatening operation, new Chairman Hossein Hossein, appointed Terry Fogarty who’s full time job was coaching the highly successful youth players at Tottenham Hotspur.

He brought in former Crystal Palace player Darren Pitcher as coach and several players with connections to the Spurs youth sides.

After a promising 1-1 opener at Southend Manor, the side lost 5-0 at home to strongly fancied barking and just kept on losing.

Their only other performance of note came in October when we defeated fellow relegation candidates Enfield 1898  by 6-1 at their ground.

But, the writing was on the wall and decisions had already been made to dispense with his services – once again a case of someone involved in the full-time game, fatally underestimating the need for experience and even ESL level of non-league football.

Turgut Esendagli: 2015-2016

The former Chairman/manager, literally, dragged himself back to take charge of the team, having only partially revered from his operation that summer.

Sadly, the manager’s sacrifice for the club, did not immediately bring its reward and despite marked improvements, going into the last month of the season, Forest were still in the bottom two, with only a few points deficits on Enfield and with about five games in hand, it should have been relatively easy to overhaul them and stave off a relegation berth.

Enfield kept losing, but, crucially, so did Forest and with just one game left, Forest still needed three points to overhaul their rivals points tally and just one, to go level on points, but, above them on goal difference.

Trailing to third place and one time promotion contenders FC Romania, Forest scored an unlikely equaliser in the 93rd minute of the game when the opposition keeper, accidently threw the ball into his own net, trying to effect a clearance.

In the end, only one team was demoted anyway, so Forest would have been safe.

Kem Kemal: 2016 – Present

With Turgut accepting the role of senior scout at Division Two Crawley Town (but, returning to his position as Chairman of our club), he appointed Kem Kemal as the new manager.

Turgut knew Kem well and Turgut’s son had been Kem’s assistant when Kem began cut managerial teeth at junior level.

Since that time, Kem had proved to be a highly successful manager at Aslan FC/AFC Broxbourne and most recently at Ware when in half a season, he transformed them from almost sure fire relegation candidates in the Isthmian League Division One North, to a side in the play-off places in the Southern League (when Ware were switched over), before he departed in the early months of the 2015/2016 season.

His managerial partnership with Tolga Husin was the foundations for success and he quickly recruited Tolga to help him at Forest.

Within a week, they had also appointed vastly experienced player/coach Ryan Maxwell to that role and the recruitment of some vastly experienced players into the squad through August & September has seen the team make a superb start to the season with eight straight wins.