Hatters look to Europe: Stockport County turn to Bosnian Darije Kalezic to replace Jim Gannon as boss

By Matt Davies

Stockport County have appointed Darije Kalezic as their new first team manager, following the sacking of Jim Gannon last week.

The club is also expected to name a new British assistant manager to help 43-year-old Kalezic in the coming days.

Kalezic has experience of managing in both Holland and Belgium, and led De Graafschap to the Dutch Second Division title in 2010.

The Swiss-born Bosnian rose through the system at De Graafschap after initially being appointed as coach of the reserves in 2006.

He won the Dutch second tier at the first attempt and was named ‘Coach of the Year’ after guiding his side to finish ten points clear of the chasing pack.

Kalezic’s most recent position was as head coach of Belgian Pro League Zulte Waregem but he left at the end of 2011 after a six month spell in charge.

In the summer of that year before his spell with the Belgian club, Guus Hiddink who was linked heavily with the Chelsea job had earmarked Kalezic to be a part of his back room staff.

However, Chelsea’s appointment of Andre Villas-Boas ended those plans and Kalezic became head coach of the Belgian club instead.

County’s vice-chairman Spencer Fearn described the appointment of the new manager as a “reflection of the future direction of the club.”

Meanwhile, the Hatters recently appointed Chief Executive Ryan McKnight said that he was “delighted to have been able to attract such a high calibre coach” to Edgeley Park.

Alan Lord – Gannon’s former assistant – will take charge of Tuesday’s visit to Gateshead before Kalezic commences his duties in a home tie against Nuneaton.

Club-legend Gannon was sacked 14 months into his second spell with the Hatter’s and left the club just inside the relegation zone in the Blue Square Premier.

His sides’ 3-1 home defeat to Mansfield on January 15 saw County continue a dismal run over the Christmas period and the board took swift action in ending Gannon’s tenure at the club.

Image courtesy of zoominnl via YouTube, with thanks.

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