Photo by Stacio Fernandes ©.
Mark took over as first team Manager at Hayes & Yeading in early October 2023 after Ritchie Hanlon opted to step down to his old position of assistant manager.
Began his career in the FEDO youth system at Hayes FC and became the first graduate of the scheme to sign a first team contract, making his debut against Nuneaton in May 2000. Described at the time as a forward running midfield player who could create something out of nothing, Mark spent four full seasons with the Hayes after his debut before to play for Cambridge City, Aldershot Town, Stevenage Borough and Grays Athletic before being signed by AFC Bournemouth. Made his Cherries League 2 debut in October 2008 before moving to Exeter City and then Aldershot Town and finally Weymouth where he ended his playing career.
Started his coaching career with AFC Bournemouth under 15s before becoming player-coach at Weymouth in 2016 while also being assistant manager to the AFC Bournemouth under 21 side, a position he retained even when being appointed first team manager at Weymouth in 2017. While in charge at Weymouth he achieved back-to-back promotions taking his side to the National League at the end of the 2019/20 season.
His achievements at Weymouth saw him appointed manager of Southend United however with the team struggling financially he departed the club in April 2021 and subsequently returned to former club Aldershot Town, this time as Manager. His tenure with the Shots lasted until October 2022 and after leaving he took over the reins at Gosport Borough and led the relegation threatened team to safety by season end whereby he departed the club.
Comes “home” to United looking to boost the seasons form and push Hayes & Yeading towards the clubs goal of promotion to the National League South.
Ritchie started out in the youth system at Chelsea before signing for Southend United with whom he made his Football League debut against Sheffield United. After one further appearance for Southend he moved to Conference National side Welling United. The following season he signed for Rushden & Diamonds before joining Peterborough United in December 1998 where he made almost 50 League appearances while also having a couple of loan spells back at Welling. He returned to Rushden in 2001 for a lengthy spell before moving to Stevenage Borough in June 2004. From there he had spells with Lincoln City and Weymouth before joining Cambridge United in September 2005. In January 2007 he was forced to retire from playing due to a persistent knee injury.
Aged just 29, Ritchie had a short spell in charge at St Albans City until September 2007 thereafter he took a break from the game. In 2012, he was appointed joint manager at Kings Langley alongside Paul Hughes. The pair led Kings Langley to three consecutive promotions, finishing 2nd in Spartan South Midlands Division One in 2014, and then winning the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division title in 2015. Following a third promotion that saw Kings Langley become champions of the Southern League Central Division and take the club to the Southern Premier Division, Ritchie, alongside Hughes, moved to Hayes & Yeading United in November 2016.
Having been unable to stave off relegation in their first season, Ritchie departed for personal reasons with Paul taking sole control of the side. Ritchie returned to United a couple of years later as Paul Hughes' assistant and saw the club win promotion back to the Southern Premier South, kept everything together through the Covid seasons and then again helped United to a sadly unsuccessful play-off final against Farnborough in May 2022.
With Paul Hughes stepping down after the conclusion of the 2022/23 for family reasons, the club put their faith in Ritchie and he was immediately appointed as First Team Manager while also retaining the rest of Paul Hughes' backroom staff to assist him.
At the start of October 2023 Ritchie volunteered to step down to his previous post of assistant manager and Mark Molesley was appointed to manage the side with Ritchie working alongside the new gaffer.
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