West Ham United Ladies have appointed Mark Saunderson as their new manager.

Saunderson was put in charge following the club's 2013 Annual General Meeting, with former boss Julia Setford moving to a new role as Director of Football.

Former Fulham Ladies and Crystal Palace Ladies manager Saunderson has a wealth of experience of the women's game, winning the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division title with the Cottagers in 2008. He has also worked extensively with players with hearing impediments, coaching Fulham Deaf FC and the Great Britain Deaf team.

Setford, who stepped down as manager herself in the spring following a successful two-and-a-half years in charge, said the 2008 Manager of the Year would bring fresh thinking and attract new players to the club.

"Basically, we have had a little change," she explained. "Mark is going to be first-team manager and I will be his number two and also fill the role of Director of Football.

"Mark was with Fulham Ladies previously, where he has won the Manager of the Year award and led them to the Southern Division title. He has got a lot of experience and we have brought him in for that reason. We think he can do a really good job for us next season.

"The changes will enable me to take a step back, but Mark has far more experience of management than I do and he can really push us on. He has won the division we are in before so we know he has got good pedigree and a respected name in women's football.

"We need to boost our squad with more quality and we feel Mark is the manager to bring better players to the club."

West Ham missed out on a place in the Women's Super League 2, which will start in 2014, but Setford says everyone at the club is determined to overcome the disappointment by winning the Southern Division title next season.

"We are all looking forward to the new season already. We didn't get into the Super League 2, but with our new manager coming in we want to do well in our own division.

"It's going to be even tougher next year with National Division clubs like Charlton Athletic, Cardiff City and Portsmouth possibly joining us following the restructuring of the league. It will be interesting to see how we can build our squad for next year."

Among the other changes made at the Ladies' AGM were the appointment of Ray Wood as Chairman, replacing Setford, and Bill Robinson as secretary, replacing the long-serving Colin Roache.

The club is looking to appoint a new reserve-team manager. Applicants must hold the FA Level 3 Coaching Badge. For further details, email whuladies@hotmail.com

Finally, the Ladies will host a second trial for 16-18-year-olds who would like to spend the next two years as part of the club's new Football Academy. The Football Academy is a two-year, full-time education and football development programme. Participants will earn a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Sport and coaching qualifications, while also having the opportunity to train and play in the Conference Youth Alliance League.

The trial will take place between 3pm-5pm on Wednesday 29 May at the West Ham United Community Sports Trust, 60A Albatross Close, Beckton, London, E6 5NX.

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