The club regrets to learn that former Fleet manager Eddie Presland has passed away at the age of 78.
Eddie managed the club in the mid-1980s after a playing career that took in West Ham and Crystal Palace. As a young defender, he came through the Hammers’ youth side with the likes of Sir Bobby Moore, playing six times for the first team, scoring his only goal against Liverpool. He also served as best man to Sir Geoff Hurst at the latter’s wedding.
He spent two seasons with Palace, where he played more than 60 times, before turning out for Colchester United and Chelmsford City. He also played cricket for Essex.
After a spell in South Africa, as a manager he began at Wealdstone before serving Dulwich Hamlet and Hendon. He succeeded Tony Burns as Gravesend & Northfleet boss in October 1985, having been beaten to the job by Burns three years earlier. In 1979/80, he had managed Dagenham to an FA Trophy win at Wembley.
Presland had an uphill task on taking over the Fleet and couldn’t prevent relegation in 1986 to the Southern League Southern Division. He steered the club to sixth place in 1986/87 and had begun the process of assembling a promotion-capable squad when he resigned in autumn 1987 to return to Dulwich Hamlet, amidst unrest on the Fleet board with the simultaneous resignation of chairman David Hockley.
He was succeeded by his assistant Dennis Moore, who had also played under him at Dagenham, and Moore finished the early work Presland had begun with promotion in 1988/89.
In later life, he worked for Ipswich Town and served as chief scout for Tottenham Hotspur. All of us at the club send our condolences to Celia, Neil, Kai and all his family.
Pictured below is Eddie Presland (left) with a young Harry Redknapp (centre) in the West Ham youth team.