The National League can sometimes be an unforgiving place for players and managers. While many managers in the fifth tier are seasoned professionals, who have been in the game for decades, some managers in the National League start their careers at a tender age. Here are the youngest-ever managers in the National League:
Josh Staunton (Managed Yeovil Town at 26 years 08 months)
The current Yeovil player/coach is still just 28 years old, but on the final day of the 2021/22 season, the club captain was interim head coach as Town recorded a 1-0 win at Altrincham. The versatile defender may have only managed one game this time around, but he is very much a leader in the Yeovil dressing room.
As a player, Staunton has made 214 appearances in the National League and still has plenty of time to add to his tally of appearances.
Mikey Harris (Managed at Salisbury City at 28 years ten months 18 days)
Harris made his managerial debut at the age of just 28 years, ten months and 18 days in a 1-0 home defeat against Tamworth in April 2013. He went on to manage City for 48 games, picking up a points-per-match ratio of 1.46.
Now 39, Harris is regarded as a promising young English coach. Having spent time with Southampton’s under-18s, he is currently the under-21 assistant manager at their south coast rival, Brighton, while also fulfilling the same role with England’s under-19 team. It seems the National League was just the start of what looks like a highly promising coaching career.
Luke Garrard (Managed Boreham Wood at 30 years 21 days)
The highly regarded Garrard debuted as Boreham Wood manager in October 2015, as his team went down to a 1-0 home defeat to Aldershot Town.
The game was just the start for Garrard, as he now has 377 games under his belt as the club’s manager. He has picked up 528 points in his managerial career, with a points-per-match ratio of 1.40.
Anthony Hudson (Managed Newport County at 30 years 25 days)
Hudson made his managerial bow at just 30 years and 25 days, as his Newport County team recorded a 2-1 home win over Darlington. The Seattle-born boss managed County for only 15 games, picking up just three wins before leaving the Welsh club.
Hudson has since enjoyed various coaching and managerial jobs, including being the head coach of Bahrain, New Zealand and Colorado Rapids in his native USA. He also served as USA head coach temporarily for five games. Hudson is currently the head coach of Al-Markhiya SC in the Qatar Stars League.
Harry Wheeler (Managed Maidstone United at 30 years 01 month 17 days)
Wheeler managed Maidstone United to a 2-0 home defeat against Harrogate Town at just 30 years, one month and 17 days. The game was the start of a 17-match spell as United manager that produced just four wins and a points-per-match ratio of 0.88.
He later went on to manage Billericay Town for 31 games, recording nine wins and eight draws and suffering 14 defeats, with a points-per-match ratio of 1.13.
David Livermore (Managed Histon FC at 30 years 03 months 04 days)
Livermore made his managerial debut for Histon FC in August 2010, as his team produced a 1-1 draw against Eastbourne Borough. He went on to manage the team on 24 occasions while still a player, too. Unfortunately, his spell was unsuccessful, as his points-per-match ratio was just 0.67 after recording only four wins.
The former midfielder has since worked as a youth coach and assistant manager at Millwall. At the time of writing, Livermore is the assistant manager at Gillingham.
Mark Noon (Managed Nuneaton Borough at 30 years 05 months 27 days)
The former Coventry youngster made his managerial debut at just 30 years, 05 months and 27 days in a 1-0 home defeat against Grimsby Town in May 2014. Noon failed to win any of his five matches as caretaker boss of Nuneaton.
He also had a second spell as the team’s temporary boss in September of the same year, this time winning one of his four matches in charge.
Noon went on to be the assistant manager at Brackley for seven years before joining his current club, Telford United, in the same role in October 2022.
Loui Fazakerley (Managed Welling United at 30 years 07 months 12 days)
The former right-back made his managerial debut in March 2015, as his Welling United team went down to a 1-0 home defeat against Altrincham. He was initially in charge of United as a caretaker boss for ten games before being appointed on a permanent basis for 30 games.
Fazakerley endured mixed fortunes as Welling boss, with his permanent spell producing a points-per-match ratio of just 0.90. After his spell as a boss, Fazakerley moved into fitness coach, including working at Dover Athletic from 2016 until 2018.
Tom Shaw (Managed Chester at 30 years 09 months 09 days)
Nottingham-born Shaw made his managerial bow in a 1-1 home draw with Ebbsfleet United in September 2017 as caretaker boss. He managed the team for just three games, failing to record a victory.
Shaw later moved to Lincoln, where he was an under-18 coach while still playing before another temporary spell in charge of the Imps under-18 team for three games. The spell was underwhelming, as he picked up a win but suffered two defeats. Shaw is currently the Lincoln City first-team assistant manager.
Matthew Bates (Managed Hartlepool United at 31 years 02 months 14 days)
The former Middlesbrough centre-back was appointed as caretaker manager of Hartlepool United in February 2018. His first game in charge was a 1-0 home defeat by Ebbsfleet United.
Bates went on to manage the north east team for 13 matches on a temporary basis. However, in May of the same year, he was given the job on a full-time basis, managing United for a further 24 games. His points-per-match ratio as permanent Hartlepool boss was 1.21.