CHESTER FC have announced their new manager – former York boss Steve Watson.

The 47-year-old takes over with immediate effect and his first game in charge will be in the Blues' visit to AFC Telford United on Boxing Day.

Watson, who becomes the sixth permanent manager since reformation, has penned a contract initially until the end of the season at the Deva Stadium.

He replaces the management duo of Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, who left following a difficult first part of the season for the club which sees them only 16th in the National League North table. The duo have since taken on duties at 12th-placed Spennymoor Town.

Having enjoyed an illustrious playing career with the likes of Newcastle United and Everton in the top-flight of English football, Steve’s coaching career started at Huddersfield Town in 2010.

He then had a spell with Birmingham City before being appointed assistant manager at Macclesfield Town, and moved into management with Gateshead in October 2017, ensuring their survival that season as well as reaching the semi-finals of the FA Trophy.

Gateshead sat eighth in the National League table in January the following season when he switched to York City. Sitting 16th at the time of his appointment, York would end that campaign strongly - just seven points shy of the play-off places.

The following season Steve steered the Minstermen to a second-place finish on PPG, reaching the play-off semi-finals during the curtailed 2019/20 campaign.

Watson was named National League North Manager of the Month in October of this year, before leaving the club the following month.

CFU chair Andy Morris said: “We are delighted to welcome Steve to the club following a wide recruitment campaign over the last few weeks.

“Having spoken to Steve numerous times, we are confident that he can build on the foundations already within the club for the remainder of the season.

“It was important that we appointed a manager who knew the league in terms of opposition and players so that he could have an immediate impact and push us on to finish in the highest possible position in the table.

“The work that Steve did at Macclesfield and Gateshead alongside his time at York show that he can operate successfully at this level and that he is able to coach and develop the current players as well as attracting new additions in our pursuit for a play-off place.

“During the interview process, Steve impressed with the level of research into our current squad and performance but most importantly with how he felt he could improve the team and most importantly results.

“Given his track record of success and his alignment to our community ethos and supporting player development, the board felt Steve was the right candidate to move the club forward.

“The work that Danny Livesey and Simon Grand have done in interim charge has been incredible and we thank them both for their efforts and dedication to the club stepping up in difficult circumstances.”