ALL SMILES: New Spalding United boss Gaby Zakuani. Photo by MARK GOODALE

Zakuani named Spalding United manager on permanent basis and LuaLua joins coaching staff

Spalding United have today (Monday) announced that Gaby Zakuani will be their next permanent first team manager.

The former DR Congo international defender, who recently retired, started his career with Leyton Orient and completed nearly 500 games in the football league with former clubs Stoke City, Northampton Town, Gillingham, Swindon Town and, most notably Peterborough United.

He and assistant manager Neal Spafford have been in caretaker charge of the Tulips since Lewis Thorogood resigned on October 12, overseeing defeats against Cleethorpes Town, Bedford Town and Worksop Town.

Spafford will remain at the club as Zakuani’s assistant, with ex-Newcastle United and Portsmouth striker Lomana Tresor LuaLua joining the club as an attacking coach.

Spalding also welcome experienced former Bedford Town man Ronayne Marsh-Brown to the club as first-team coach.

Tulips CEO Leigh Porter revealed that Zakuani has “made sacrifices” to take on the job and feels that the Posh legend shares the club’s vision as they bid to “break new ground” moving forward.

“We would like to thank everyone who applied for the role and for their interest in Spalding United Football Club,” said Porter. “We took our time and completed a thorough process internally and we are very happy with the new and exciting setup.

“Gaby shares our vision and has the same hunger and ambition we have at the club to break new ground but in the right way, he’s had time to look at the club closely and presented what he feels needs to happen for us to move forward on the playing side which we agreed with.

“He has made sacrifices to enable him to fully commit to the role, which was a requirement, and we very much appreciate, and we look forward to working with him in an official capacity from today (Monday).”

Zakuani had earlier admitted that he had been advising Spalding since his friend Andrew Killingsworth took over the club back in the summer.

Killingsworth has been a major sponsor of Peterborough United in recent times – and that link seems to have allowed the Tulips to pull off a major coup.

Zakuani sees the role as an “exciting opportunity” and his first game in official charge will be a Pitching In NPL South East Division trip to Belper Town on Saturday (3pm).

Zakuani said: “I’ve seen the set up in the last few weeks, I look forward to now putting my stamp on the squad.

“I know it is going to take a lot of hard work, but I believe in myself and my staff’s ability.

“I also would like to thank the board for this exciting opportunity.”

The Tulips begin this new era in 17th place in the table after six defeats on the spin in all competitions.

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