Yeovil Town have given first team manager Darren Way a new contract at the club. The 38 year old's current deal was due to run out at the end of the 2018-19 season, but the club's Board of Directors have now provided him with a new two-and-a-half year contract that will take him until the summer of 2021.
Way has been manager of the club since the start of December 2015. So far, he has been in the dugout for 166 matches, winning 52, and losing 61 of them, with an overall win ratio of 31.33% across that time. His most successful period came during the second half of the 2015-16 season, when he helped the club climb out of the League Two relegation zone, ultimately finishing in 19th place. In his two full seasons in charge, he has recorded 20th and 19th placed finishes. The club currently lie in 17th place in the League Two table, with two games in hand over most clubs in the division.
His current 166 games in charge make him the club's longest continually serving Football League manager, with him having surpassed Gary Johnson's second spell sequence four games ago. Johnson's first spell in charge stands as a longer run overall, with 226 games in charge, but includes two seasons at the helm as a Conference manager. Only Johnson (226 and 162 across his two spells) and Brian Hall (208 and 54 across his two spells) have been given longer spells in charge at the club since the 1970s.
Way's current tenure also makes him one of the EFL's longest serving managers at present. He lies in eighth place in the League Managers' Association list, with Morecambe's Jim Bentley (May 2011) and Wycombe Wanderers' Gareth Ainsworth (September 2012) at the top. The majority of those above him have managed to attain an extended stay at their clubs by having guided their teams to promotions, including Darrell Clarke at Bristol Rovers, John Coleman at Accrington Stanley and Derek Adams at Plymouth Argyle.
Chairman John Fry has said of the decision to give Way a new deal:
"When Darren stepped up to be manager in December 2015, the club was on the ropes and looked doomed to suffer a third successive relegation and loss of EFL status. Not only was Darren able to turn things around that season, but since then he has stabilised the club and has led us to some memorable games including the historic Emirates FA Cup tie with Manchester United. Darren also shares the club's ambition to return to League One before the end of the 2020-21 season, so it makes sense to offer a contract to someone who has proven loyalty, effectiveness and ambition."
Way himself has added his belief that recent events have allowed his squad to consistently win football matches, and says this is the next chapter in delivering success at the club:
"When I took over, I declared a vision where we could nurture and develop future talent for our benefit both on and off the pitch. We've now grown to a point where the current squad boasts young talent who are assets to Yeovil Town Football Club. Young members of our team are representing their countries and all of this has been conjoined with the promotion of our own Academy products. Gabby Rogers and Daniel Ojo have both made their professional debuts in 2018-19, which shows the talent within our ranks which has taken time to build the environment needed for them to blossom. We need to continue the work that we’ve done but it’s so important that this squad has direction, focus and stability in order to consistently win football matches. Everything we do now is for the future and this commitment from myself and the football club will mark the next chapter in this exciting project. We want to deliver success and this contract extension provides a stable platform to see what we've built come to fruition, as together anything is possible. Thank you so much for your support which doesn't go unnoticed."
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