‘He deserves a crack at it’ – Danny Thompson appointed Shaun Wilkinson’s successor as Baffins Milton Rovers manager

Danny Thompson has been confirmed as Baffins Milton Rovers’ new manager.

He had previously been assistant for two seasons to Shaun Wilkinson, who stepped down as boss earlier this month.

Baffins chairman Steve Cripps told The News: ‘Danny made it clear he wanted the job.

‘I had seven applications but didn’t interview any of them.

Danny Thompson has been appointed manager of Wessex League club Baffins Milton Rovers. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

‘Danny is a young, enthusiastic manager. He’s liked at the club, he knows the club well, he knows the ethos. He deserves a crack at it.

‘He did well when Shaun was away, I think he won all the games apart from the one at (champions) Hamworthy and we only lost that in the last minute.’

This is Thompson’s first manager’s role in the Wessex, after previously being in charge at Hampshire Premier League clubs Fleetlands and Infinity.

Arriving at Fleetlands in September 2018, the Coptermen finished fifth in the Senior Division in his one and only season before he decamped to Infinity.

At Infinity, he didn’t lose a league game in the 2019/20 season only for the pandemic to shatter the club’s hopes of promotion to the Premier League.

Disillusioned by a failure to go up, Thompson resigned as manager and was appointed Wilkinson’s assistant shortly after.

Thompson said: ‘I respect Steve Cripps and Tony Male for giving me the chance.

‘Shaun’s played a big part, he was the one that brought me in. Hopefully now we can carry on what Shaun and I started.

‘I was always open and honest with Shaun. I said if a (manager’s) job became available and I fancied it I would go for it.

‘I enjoyed managing for a short spell at Gosport (after Alex Pike left) and at Fleetlands and Infinity.

‘I always wanted to be my own man (after leaving Infinity), but it was too good an opportunity to turn down when Shaun, who I’d worked with at Gosport, asked me to join him at Baffins.

Baffins finished eighth in what was only their third full Wessex Premier campaign in 2021/22.

Cripps said his ultimate aim is promotion to the Southern League, but he is no hurry.

‘There won’t be any pressure on Danny in year one,’ he said. ‘We’ve had a chat, he’s got a bit stronger budget for next season, but really year one is just about establishing his side.

‘I was happy with last season (2021/22). Shaun put some pressure on himself to go up when we near the top, but there was no pressure from me.

‘We set ourselves a target last season of finishing in the top eight, and we were eighth. If we finish seventh next season, so be it. If we finish a bit lower, I won’t be fazed.

‘I won’t be throwing money at it (to get out of the league) until everything is right off the field.’

Wilkinson’s assistant will be ex-Moneyfields coach Matt Jones, who was also at Baffins last season, with the club hoping to appoint three new coaches soon. One will be a head coach, and another a goalkeeping coach to replace Alex Hards who has just joined Moneyfields.