Date: 22nd May 2008 at 8:57pm
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Former Gills defender Barry Ashby has been appointed as the new manager of Ryman Premier League side Margate.

Ashby, now 37, is one of the players who was part of the golden era of Gillingham FC, making more than 300 appearances following a move from Brentford for £140,000 in the summer of 1997.

He was part of the side which played at Wembley twice, and conceded a penalty in the 2000 final which eventually saw the Gills beat Wigan 3-2 after extra time.

He left Priestfield in 2005 after the club was relegated from the Championship after five seasons, and left the professional game, only resurfacing for a brief playing stint at Welling the following season.

But he is now in charge at Hartsdown Park, and he has appointed his former Gills colleague Paul Smith as player coach.

Smith, 36, moved at the same time as Ashby from Brentford for £190,000 and was named captain in 1999, and although he did not lead the team out at Wembley in 2000, he lifted the trophy with Adrian Pennock after coming off the bench to play a key role.

He too left the Gills in the summer of 2005 after relegation and moved to Walsall, but was back at Priestfield for a loan spell within four months, only for the spell to end in dispute after the club decided not to give him a permanent deal.

After a total of 395 appearances for the Gills, he then moved to Swindon and linked up with Iffy Onuora, making his debut against the Gills at Priestfield.

He then went into the non-leagues with AFC Subdury but returned to play for Torquay at the end of the 2006/07, before a bizarre spell at Barnet in August 2007 when he left the club just a day after signing.

Further spells at Great Wakering Rovers and St Albans City were followed by a return to Sudbury, but he has now linked up with Ashby once again in Thanet – where they will come up against Andy Hessenthaler’s Dover next season.

All at Vital Gillingham wishes two great Gills players all the very best at Margate.