Jan 26, 2013
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So, I’ve read a few of these stories and decided it was time to combine my love of writing and FM. I’m starting out unemployed (Sunday League ) with the aim of getting to the top of the pile and maybe hop across a few countries along the way. I’m going to go anywhere I see a challenge and will try not to let sentiment tie me to a club; money and trophies are all I want in this story.
Any pointers you guys can give to me on how to improve the story and the presentation of it would be greatly appreciated.

Career Statistics

Media Prediction
Actual Finish
Havant & Waterlooville
Blue Square South

Took over on 26/07/2012 and signed 1 year deal. Achieved Playoffs and lost in the final. Signed 1 year extension.
Havant & Waterlooville
Blue Square South
Achieved playoffs, won in the final. Signed 1 year extension
2014- 2015EnglandHavant & WaterloovilleBlue Square Premier23rd-Left the club in 6th place on 12/10/14 to join Sheffield Wednesday.
2014-2015EnglandSheffield WednesdayLeague One1st9thSigned a three year deal with Sheffield Wednesday. Joined the club 12/10/14 in 15th place. Finshed the season in 9th Place
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Let the Story begin…

I knew from all the Championship Manager save games I’d played I was cut out for taking over a team. Pulling together a CV that showed back to back Champions League wins with Bristol City among a host of other achievements I decided it was time to put myself out there and throw my hat into the management arena. Whilst I appreciated it was more likely to start with Billericay than Barcelona I kept an eye open at the job market; at least this way I could keep a vested interest in the footballing world whilst trying not to concentrate too much on the Ritz to the rubble saga at my beloved Portsmouth FC.
A job that immediately caught my attention was the vacancy at Havant and Waterlooville. Having played for their under 10 side as a youngster, been a ball boy on matchdays and even graced the hallowed turf it was a place that I would be totally at home. Add in the fact that I lived only a ten minute walk from Westleigh Park then I had found a vacancy that fully garnered my interest.

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An uncharacteristically full Westleigh Park

I applied and waited patiently, then the offer arrived from Derek Pope. £475 a week for a part time job a mere stone throw from my house. Delightful. Accepted.

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Havant and Waterlooville 2012-2013

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I signed a one year deal and my first job was to take a look at the current playing staff:

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Already having a good knowledge of the club I knew that Rambo was one of the better players in the side. Ollie Palmer had considerable ability up top but the defence was a worry and that would be the first area of the club for me to concentrate on as well as a right sided midfielder. It was time to dive into the transfer market with a shoestring budget and my best Harry Redknapp impression.

Pre Season
We’d already played against Fleet and beat them 4-0 just before I arrived, but my first game in charge (Friendly-wise) would be against Yeovil.

Havant 0-0 Yeovil
We put in a decent performance and kept the visitors at bay for most of the game. Ramsey nearly claimed the win late on but his free kick hit the bar. Generally happy with my first game in charge of the club but with only six subs available to put on the bench it was clear we needed a few more players; if the board were willing to support a few new faces.

Havant 0-1 Leyton Orient
Another spirited performance; debutants Tsovolos and Pericard both spurned decent chances to give us the lead but we went down to a late goal. Another impressive performance against a decent League One side gave me optimism for the forthcoming season.

Havant 1-6 Portsmouth

Totally unrealistic, Izale McLeod scored four goals, Howard played well and Pompey looked very competent. We were missing Nanetti and Ramsey through injury but generally it wasn’t the prettiest of shows. At least we scored.

Pre Season Tactics and Transfers

Given that my players are part time and pretty limited, I decided to keep the tactics pretty straightforward and modelled around the 4-4-2 core. The team also have familiarised themselves with a 4-1-4-1 and 4-4-1-1.
I was very happy with the transfer dealings prior to the first game, only missing out on a couple of targets.

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Former Pompey hitman Pericard has the ability to cause absolute havoc if he can remain fit and Tsovolos (another from the Fratton Park production line) looks a star in the making at centre back. JJ Melligan provides further league experience and versatility in the middle and finally Scott Kay looks a very useful capture on a three month loan period.

Starting eleven

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Happy as I can be with the core of this side, enough depth to cover an injury crisis and capable of meeting the boards desire for mid table I believe.
Will get a season update on it's way as soon as readied and again would appreciate any presentation tips!
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August and September

A fairly sturdy start to the season by the team, desperately short of goals with a glut of 0-0 draws. Pericard is looking good when he can stay fit and generally the team has performed well in these early games; we’ve hit a lot of woodwork though and I’ll be keeping an eye out for some competition up top. Spear has given a bit of extra depth up top and Buchel has stepped straight inbetween the sticks and hasn’t conceded a goal in his four games for the Hawks.

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Havant 0-0 Chelmsford

Palmer wide, Pericard post. Palmer in front of goal. They had free kick against bar. Hutchinson second half chance well saved. Should’ve won. Woodwork three times.

Truro 2–0 Havant

Palmer bar first half, dominated and guilty of spurning chances left right and centre. Conceeded first half goal and then set piece undone us second half. Made chances but again couldn’t finish; lost Palmer for two months with injury.

Transfer news:
(Ray Spear signed on loan from Torquay for three months)

Bath 0–1 Havant

Nanetti run, Pericard forced home. Well ground out victory but already a lot of tired legs with Eastleigh on Monday. Played 4-1-4-1.

Havant 1-0 Eastleigh

Controlled. Ramsey whipped in a free kick and Pearce scored at the second attempt. They came back second half but stayed strong, Spear sent off in last few minutes but hung on for all three. Fairly good start to the campaign, playing decent football and look relatively sturdy defensively


Staines 2–0 Havant

Pummled first half, went 2 behind. Pushed on second half but were comprehensively beaten.

Havant 1–1 Hayes and Yeading

Under the kosh, countered well to take the lead on 30 through Pericard. Hayes grabbed deserved equaliser late on but a well earned point.

Transfer News:
(Benjamin Buchel signed on 4 month loan from Bournemouth)

Havant 0-0 Tonbridge

Goals very hard to come by but defensively tight. Not many chances other than a Pearce header from a corner.

Sutton 0-0 Havant

Lost Pericard early on to a red card, they had a man sent off on the half hour. Late chance spurned by Spear, another fairly good point on the road.

Havant 3–0 Eastleigh (FA Cup 2nd​ qualifying round)
Melligan (2)

Good start, Melligan headed home a Tsovolos cross. Spear and Melligan then completed a comprehensive victory

Bromley 0-0 Havant

Rounded off the month with our third straight 0-0 in the league. On the face of it not a bad result against a decent Bromley side but we need to score more.

League Table

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October - December

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Havant 0–0 Weston Super Mare

I’m glad I don’t have to view the whole ninety. Another game providing little spark, going to need to rejig the team a bit to try and get goals back into our play.

Havant 2-0 Farnborough (FA Cup 3rd​ Qualifier)

Pericard on 2 mins and Spear just before the break proved we can score, but mainly save the goals for the cup. Easy win and could have been four or five.

Basingstoke 0–3 Havant

Page headed home from a corner early on and Pericard grabbed an impressive second. Pearce completed a decent victory with another goal from a corner to give us a cosy 3-0 win

Salisbury 1–2 Havant (FA Cup 4th​ Qualifier)
Pericard (2)

Pericard scored a first half braced as we caught them on the break. Buchel worked wonders in goal and although they pulled one back second half, we held out to qualify for the FA Cup 1st​ round!

Havant 0-1 Farnborough

Cagey game opened up by Sam Pearces red card with five mins left. Having used all our subs, conceded 91st​ min goal. Ouch.

Bilericay 1–1 Havant

All over them and couldn’t take a chance. They caught us on the counter second half but Spear grabbed a flukey equaliser with ten to go. Felt like two points dropped.

Havant 0–1 Dorchester

Terrible performance. Couldn’t break them down at all and then they broke and scored with their only attack. Poor run of games at the moment


Dorchester 3-2 Havant (FA Cup 1st​ round)

Another poor display, gifted two sloppy goals before Hutchinson pulled one back. They grabbed one from a set piece in the 90th​ min before Jones grabbed a late consolation in added time. They got Tranmere away next round.

Havant 2-3 Welling
Spear (2)

Two behind early on but then Spear bagged a brace. Tired legs in the squad not helping our cause and we went down to ten after losing Hutchinson to injury with all our subs used. Welling grabbed the winner late on, this is a horrendous run.

Havant 1–0 Dulwich Hamlet (FA Trophy Qualifier)

Whyte gave us an easy lead, Spear played well up top but missed a couple of chances to put it beyond doubt. A commanding but not convincing passage through to the next round.

Weston-super-Mare 1–3 Havant

A decent performance and very happy to be back in winning ways. Ray Spear was the star of the show in his last game of the loan spell, laying on two and scoring one himself. I’ll definitely be looking at bringing him to the club on a permanent deal if finances permit it.

Havant 3-0 Walton Casuals (FA Trophy 1st​ Round)
Pericard (2)

Convincing win against a nothing side. Pericard was on top form with a brace and an assist. Although it was a very easy game the side are really gelling together well.


Havant 4-1 Bromley
Pericard (2)

The Vincent Pericard show. Scored two and tore them to shreds for the hour he was on the field. Due to the strikers extremely fragile nature, I tend to sub him when he’s put a shift of 60 minutes in. Goals from Ramsey and Jones completed the rout against the third placed side.

Havant 2–3 Staines

Hutchinson missed a pen early on but Page scored from the resulting corner. Staines equalised with their first attack of the game on the quarter hour but then Hutchinson made amends with a 30 yard rocket to restore the lead. Second half it all went pear shaped, they scored two poor goals and that was it. Battered them and a galling defeat all in all.

Tonbridge 1-1 Havant

Vincent Pericard is the Blue Square South’s answer to Didier Drogba. Scored another belter but Tonbridge were much the better side and got a deserved equaliser. Downside was when a pan was overflowing on the cooker hob and I left the second half running; Pericard needed a wheelchair home after playing the full ninety. Eight points off the playoffs at the moment, impressed with how the team are playing at present.

Ebbsfleet 2–0 Havant (FA Trophy 2nd​ Round)

Tough game on paper, especially with us having to rest Pericard after his mammoth full game. Totally outplayed as they when one up in the first half. Buchel then gifted their striker the ball for two. Not too miffed about going out to a BSP team here.

Havant 2-0 Bath
Pericard (2)

Another game, another Pericard brace. Ramsey and Hutchinson pulled the strings in the middle and Bath assisted by looking incredibly ordinary. The visitors sacked their manager after the game; I don’t blame them at all. I find myself answering this question a lot lately:

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Eastbourne Boro 0-0 Havant

Should have won, created enough chances but found their keeper in fine fettle. Page smacked a header against the bar but couldn’t find that elusive goal.

Eastleigh 0-3 Havant

A great win. Buchel made a smart stop early on to keep it level and then two goals in five minutes put us ahead. Jones consolidated the win second half with a neat volley. Closing toward he playoffs now.

League Table – End of December

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End of Year Summary

Fairly pleased with how life has begun with Havant and at the moment am looking to build a reputation within the game and get Havant up to the Blue Square Premier in two seasons. Of course, these plans can change and the Chester job is looking precarious in the Blue Square North. They have a great side and infrastructure and it would be very tempting to flash them a bit of interest. I’ve got Havant sat six points off the playoffs and will be looking for some loans in January as well as trying to sort a deal with Torquay for Ray Spear; he did very well here on his loan period. Pericard has easily been my best player so far, even if he can only manage a portion of a game.

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January - February

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Havant 0–0 Eastbourne Boro

Had to rotate due to fitness issues and they let me down. Dominated the game and just couldn’t create anything meaningful. That said their keeper pulled off a remarkable / irritating triple save from a corner to keep it goalless with ten left on the clock.

Havant 3–1 AFC Hornchurch
Pericard (2)

Pericard at the double. Top result against the league leaders and I’m confident we can continue to move up the table now with this kind of form. Melligan scored a well worked goal; very happy with the overall performance in this one. Masters made his debut in goal after Buchel headed back to Bournemouth

Chelmsford 0–1 Havant

Ramsey free kick floated in, Pericard heads home. Defence stayed rock solid and Masters pulled off a fine stop to ensure we held on to get all three points.

Boreham Wood 2-4 Havant
Jones (2)

Ollie Palmer opened the scoring with beaut of a curler before Pearce headed home a Ramsey free kick. They pulled it back to 2-1, but Jones grabbed a goal on the break. Boreham again came back with a sumptuous thirty yarder to take the advantage back down to a goal but Scott Jones popped up again late on to seal it. Three on the bounce!

Havant 1-0 Billaricay

Made hard work of this, Taggart grabbed the only goal midway through the second half in a goalmouth scramble. Up to sixth and rising still; could we be in for a playoff tilt?

Dorchester 2-2 Havant

Goal of the season contender from Ramsey gave us the lead, spanking a free kick in off the bar from 35 yards. Dorchester scored two poor goals (from a defensive perspective). Pericard got us back into it in the second half and a draw ended up not a bad result despite the home side’s lowly position.


Farnborough 0-3 Havant
Own Goal

Smashed them. Pericard put us ahead with a neat finish before their keeper gifted us an own goal. The ever dependable super sub Scott Jones banged in a third to give gloss to another comprehensive victory.

Havant 2–2 Basingstoke

Utter joke. We were comfortably ahead after Palmer and Pericard put us two ahead with assured finishing in the first half. Then as we were closing the game out we conceded twice in the 90th​ minute. Masters made a howler for the equaliser and was fined accordingly. Came close to lobbing a teacup at the cat.

Transfer News:
(Jason Crowe signed from Corby on a free; contracted til the end of the season. There seems to be a pattern of signing former Pompey legends in this save.)

Welling 1-2 Havant

Jason Crowe had a stormer on debut with a hand in both goals, knocking a cross in for Nanetti’s opener and put a through ball in for Melligan to slot home the second. Welling did pull one back late on but we shored it up to avoid another ‘Basingstoke’. Up to 3rd​.

Transfer News:
(Josh Gowling and Aaron Dawson signed on loan from Kidderminster and Exeter respectively. Both will add competitive depth to the defensive and midfield areas)

Havant 1-0 Salisbury

Huge game with the league leaders and a chance to close in on them. A great Palmer strike gave us the win and it was a solid performance to boot. This run we’re on is continually setting a club record. A few players picked up knocks and we ended the game with a few men behind the ball but we won well. Huge gate of 1,115 at Westleigh Park to watch this one as well.

League Table (End of Feb)

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Wow. What a run. Since the turn of the year we’ve practically turned over everyone we’ve played. Squad depth was becoming a worry but the signing of Crowe and a few extra loans has helped out massively. With ten games remaining I’m aiming for a playoff place at a minimum now given the form the side is in. Took a quick look at the Premier League to see how things were faring… safe to say I think City will win the league. Update on recent transfers also attached.

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March - April

These were a season defining couple of months for Havant. We started on the cusp of the playoff places and I was looking to at least grab a playoff place after the form run of January and February.


Havant 0–3 Sutton United

Well, back to earth with some considerable force. Sutton are in the bottom three and on paper pretty useless. Unfortunately a few players decided not to turn up and this made winning very difficult. Two goals from crosses (exposed down left hand side) and a defensive mix up contributed to the third. Very, very poor show. Handed out several warnings.

Dover 3–2 Havant
Palmer (2)

We started very poorly and were punished by going two behind. Palmer then pulled back a brace to send us level and in search of the winner we were undone by a horrendous defensive error by Tsovolos. I don’t want this to become a slump.

Havant 2-1 Maidenhead

Palmer put us ahead after a good knockdown from Pericard and Ramsey scorched in a second from the edge of the box. They scored against the run of play second half but we’d done enough.

AFC Hornchurch 3–0 Havant

We made a lot of chances and had the lion share of possession but they had all the chances and won all three points. Form has suddenly become very flaky, I think I cursed the run by expecting playoffs at the very least.

Deadline Day Transfer News:
Adam Marriott signed on loan from Cambridge for three months. He should give us the extra depth required up front.

Havant 2-1 Truro

Jason Crowe scored a thunderbolt from the edge of the box to put us ahead, but Truro equalised after some slack defending left a free header at the back post. We absolutely dominated the game and it looked to be heading towards a draw until Taggart swiped the ball home in added time after a goalmouth scramble. Very important goal and win.


Hayes and Yeading 2-0 Havant

Well beaten here as the home side dominated the game. They’re down in twelth but based on the quality of their squad it’s a false position. That said, we should have done better.

Maidenhead 0-1 Havant

A much better performance but for a moment it didn’t look like our dominance would result in three points; hit the woodwork three times before Taggart put us ahead in the second half. He has proved one of the surprising player in the squad and keeps Nanetti out of the first team. Was a must win game considering the next two matches will provide tough challenges.

Havant 3-3 Dover
Pericard (2)

A real mixed bag. Palmer gave us the lead with a smart header and then the defence went awry; we conceded a couple of thunderbolts and a disappointing strike. Cue Pericard with a late show, scoring twice in the last ten minutes to gain a good point.

League Table going into the final game

A mixed bag of games had left us 5th​ in the table. Heading into the final game it was in our hands, a home game with Boreham Wood. A draw would probably do it, but we our goal difference only stood three better than 6th​ placed Chelmsford who were away to Farnborough. Welling were still in the mix as an outsider and they were home to top placed Eastleigh.

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Havant P–P Boreham Wood

Wow. I’ve never seen this. Waterlogged pitch meant our final game of the season would be replayed on the Tuesday.

Other key results

Farnborough 0-2 Chelmsford
Welling 0-1 Eastleigh

So, going into the final game (again) we knew a draw against Boreham Wood would be enough.

Havant 1–0 Boreham Wood

A nervy performance all round, we shaded it but they had their chances. It wasn’t until five minutes from time that our Cambridge loanee Adam Marriott popped up and slotted home the winner after their keeper had pulled off a double save. Playoffs – achieved!

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Delighted to get a playoff place in our first season, have a full squad going into the first semi final which will be played at home to Salisbury. List of March and April fixtures below:

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Next time: Play off results!
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May - June

Derek Pope started the month by offering me a new deal and I asked him to delay it until after the playoffs. He agreed and hoped I’d come back with a positive response; I would certainly consider a second year but was also keen to keep an eye out on any prospective jobs after a good season with Havant.


Havant 1-1 Salisbury

Argh. We dominated proceedings and went ahead deservedly on the hour through an Ollie Palmer header. They then snatched one back in the 90th​ minute and we go into the second leg of this with a job on our hands. That equaliser was a huge blow; but not an insurmountable task.

Salisbury 1–1 Havant AET (Havant win 8-7 on penalties)

Absolutely nerve fraying game, we went behind early on and struggled to trouble the home sides goal. With twenty minutes left we went balls out and laid siege to them before sub Billy Tsovolos salvaged the ball from a corner and smashed it home with 85 on the clock. 1-1 at full time. Extra time wasn’t that exciting with a lot of tired legs out there. Now for penalties and I don’t think I’ve seen a shootout like it. We went second and missed out first penalty after they scored theirs but pulled it back after they missed and we ‘levelled’ the shootout at 3-3 going into the fifth kick. Both teams dispatched and it went into sudden death. Ramsey and Marriott both missed the chances to win it for us after Salisbury missed a brace of pens. They then missed again and we were down to our eleventh taker, keeper Dan Thomas. Up he stepped, BOOM. Top right hand corner. Winners and into the final!

John Hartson’s Bath overcame Dover (who we’d struggled with in both League games) and would line up against us in the final.

Playoff Final

Bath Vs Havant

Going into the game we’d be without loanee Aaron Dawson and crucially Ollie Palmer. The bookies had us priced up at 1/3 for a win over 90 minutes and if there was an option to cover the draw and Bath win with the club funds I would just to hedge my bets at that price!

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Starting lineups:

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First half:

Very bad start, the home side scored within a minute (side note: why isn’t this final played at a neutral venue; bug or strange rule?) and gave us a mountain to climb. We were definitely second best in the opening period and went in behind at the break

Second Half:

We game out with a more positive approach and it reaped reward when Jack Eades smashed home the equaliser. It was scrappy for the rest of regular time and we finished the game one apiece. Extra time again.

Extra Time:

Very tired legs and we’d used all of our subs. Battled through the first half of extra time and then disaster struck. Dan Thomas, the hero from the shootout against Salisbury inexplicably rolled the ball out to Bath’s Charlie Griffin and he ran through one-on-one and slotted home. Not impressed at all. We went for broke and pushed men forwards but alas; no luck at all. Beaten finalists

Final Score:

Bath 2-1 Havant (AET)


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Overview of season:

We had a great season, shocking way to lose the playoff final though and it was a bit gutting to lose like that. Definitely going to prioritise a half decent keeper for the news season. Still, we had a new season to prepare for now and contracts to renew. The board offered us an even lower wage budget for the season, shaving it down to £5k in total which didn’t impress me much.

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Players like Pericard, Sam Pearce and Steve Ramsey had been huge for us during the season and had their deals extended.

June and Pre Season

We signed a Director of football to help out with a few transfer targets but it was going to be difficult to build on last season if the wage budget is reduced; not the kind of support I was expecting to be honest and I was casting an eye on the job market. I had a pop at the Gillingham job (just promoted from League Two but Martin Allen had resigned) but they baulked at me; Havant it seemed were keen to keep me on board as well. I then threw my hat into the ring at Fleetwood after Micky Mellon had resigned after narrowly avoiding relegation to the Conference and they were flattered that I would consider joining up with them.

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In the meantime, I’d signed Kwesi Appiah (season) on loan for Havant and he looked an ideal player to partner Pericard next season. In addition, former Charlton midfield Matty Holmes agreed to join as my assistant manager. To be honest though, I was concentrating more on sorting my immediate future than these transfer stories. Havant came back to me but I delayed things again as I was keen to hear back from Fleetwood and what kind of offer they could put together for me.

They eventually went with Darren Walker from the Cayman Islands and I decided it was probably a good idea to sign a new deal with Havant and try and build a team ready for pre-season so I accepted a 1 year extension to my deal.

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Next time: Pre Season, signings and friendlies
Havant and Waterlooville 2013-2014

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Pre Season

With a number of players released at the end of the last season I needed to rebuild around the core of players who remained to mount a challenge at the top of the league again this season. I informed the board that I was confident we would be promoted which allowed us a few extra pounds on the wage budget.

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As I’d mentioned, Appiah had arrived on loan and would give us excellent goalscoring potential up top. Archie Love looked a cracking player in the centre midfield (released by Burnley) and we snapped up Irish keeper Niall Burdon on a free; he also looked like a sturdy first team player. Finally Saul Halpin was loaned in from Torquay and looks the pick of the lot on ability at Blue Square South level.

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The squad looked good enough to me to definitely mount a challenge at the business end of the table.


Chertsey 1-5 Havant
Appiah (3)

Comprehensive and impressive victory against the lower league side. Appiah looks very sharp in front of goal.

Havant 0-2 Bristol Rovers

We gave them a fairly good game, an impressive performance despite defeat

Havant 2-4 Portsmouth

This was a great performance against a strong League One side and for me showed we will be very competitive this season. We had chances to score a couple more in an open game, Appiah and Pericard could have added to their tallies.

Bognor Regis 0-1 Havant

Another good performance; we’ve done well this pre-season.

Havant 0-1 Blackburn Rovers

This was a cracking performance. They tried to tear us apart but we defended valiantly against a near full strength Rovers; Jordan Rhodes grabbed the only goal of the game.

Starting XI

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A good looking squad and a marked improvement on the side that finished 5th last season. Am hopeful of a decent promotion push.

Next Time: August - September results
August - September

A good start to the season which saw us only lose one game. We're taking our chances and the side has gelled together well from the off.


Havant 4-1 Chelmsford


We went in at half time level after having much the better of the first half, second half we added goals to the dominance. They flooded in, the pick being a Ramsey strike from thirty yards. Chelmsford got a consolation but it was an excellent performance and a great start to the season.

Canvey Island 2–2 Havant
Appiah (2)

Appiah grabbed a smart brace early in the first half but the home side pulled one back before half time. We clung on for a while but they scored a well worked equalised with five minutes remaining.

Havant 1–1 Bishop’s Stortford

Disappointing result. We dominated and hit the bar twice in the opening eight minutes. They took the lead against the run of play with their first chance in the first half but Palmer equalised on the hour. Dominant but with a point to show for it only.

Staines 1-3 Havant

Another very good performance and a win to go with it. Archie Love drove us to victory and opened the scoring before Palmer doubled the lead. Staines pulled back one second half with a debatable penalty but Hayes secured the win with a header from a corner.

Havant 1-1 Basingstoke

A tough game that we probably should have won. They took the lead against the run of things on the hour and we contrived to miss a couple of chances, hit the bar and had one disallowed. Then with a couple of minutes left, Halpin broke into the box and fired the equaliser from the angle.


Dover 2–0 Havant

Our first defeat of the season and the home side (who maintained their 100% record) won comfortably. Tried to pack the midfield for this one but they were too good.

Bromley 1-2 Havant

A great win against a good side. They probably edged it but we took our chances and kept it tight at the back. Pericard gave us the lead with a smart strike and then Hutchinson got the second from outside the box. Dan Thomas, making his first performance since the playoff howler last season then put the ball into his own net to give the home side a lifeline. I should probably get rid of him soonish.

Ebbsfleet 0-0 Havant

A tough game at Ebbsfleet, they are a strong side on paper so we played off the break and contained them well. We’re still on the premises of the top five.

Havant 2-0 Truro

An imperious display, should have been a lot more though as we hit the bar three times in the first half. Ramsey opened the scoring from the edge of the eighteen in the first half and then Pericard sealed it with a goal in added time at the end.

Havant 2–0 Hayes and Yeading

Another solid showing. Hayes headed us ahead against his namesake on the stroke of half time and we controlled the remainder of the game, the ever reliable Pericard wrapping things up nicely.

AFC Hornchurch 0-1 Havant

A victory we had to grind out in the end after going down to ten men with over half an hour remaining. Appiah slotted home a cool finish to give us the lead early on but Hayes picked up his second yellow card just before the hour; causing us to defend deep to defend the lead.

Overview of Fixtures

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League Table

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Good story, did something similar, but started unemployed with up to tier 9 active. Finished a season with Croydon.
Good story, did something similar, but started unemployed with up to tier 9 active. Finished a season with Croydon.

Thanks mate, enjoying writing it so far. Did you stick with Croydon or hop your way up? Forming a bit of an attachment to this team at the moment but I know I'll need to move on at some point.
October - November

A really good month overall considering the amount of games that we had to play. Included a decent run of games in the cup and some takeover talks as well; seems that Derek Pope is willing to sell the club and if it goes ahead I'm hoping for some investment to be put in place to help us go full time and upgrade the facilities.


Havant 3–0 Bognor Regis (FA Cup Qualifier 2nd​ round)
Pericard (2)

Very easy win. Pericard scored a brace either side of an Ifura header. We drew Bideford at home in the next round.

Havant 2-1 Maidenhead


A hard fought victory. It was made slightly harder when I realised on the half hour mark we had Dominic Gape (a non-contract centre midfielder) in the sticks taking a goal kick! We’d already gone ahead with a Pericard goal but the visitors grabbed a deserved equaliser. We pushed on though and Eades got the winner.

Havant 2–1 Bideford (FA Cup Qualifier 3rd​ round)
Pericard (2)

Made a few changes for this one and we were nearly punished. Bideford took a second half lead before Pericard equalised and then grabbed a dramatic last minute winner. Phew – through. BSP Eastleigh will visit Westleigh Park in the next round.

Welling 2-3 Havant

A good performance and a great comeback. They took the lead but Hayes headed us back into it on the stroke of half time. Pericard and Appiah then stretched us into a lead which despite conceding a late goal we held onto. A fantastic result.


At the start of this month Chairman Derek Pope had announced his intention to sell the club with a local businessman looking to take over the club.

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Havant 1–0 Eastleigh (FA Cup Qualifier 4th​ Round)

A very solid performance, Wheeler scoring the only goal of the game with a mishit cross. We’d made the 1st​ round of the cup again and would have to travel to Woking in the next round.

Salisbury 1-1 Havant

A tough game at Salisbury and a good result. Eades gave us the lead but they pulled it back second half. A good result against a side sat second in the league.

Woking 0–0 Havant (FA Cup 1st​ Round)

Dominant performance but we’ve taken them to a replay. A game of few chances but we were on top and were missing a couple of players through injuries. If we could beat Woking in the replay we’d face Crystal Palace at home in the 2nd​ round. Big incentive!

Havant 0–2 Maidenhead (FA Trophy Qualifier 3rd​ Round)

Played a second string in this game and they put up a good fight but were undone by a couple of sloppy goals. I wasn’t too cut up about going out of this trophy as we had a busy schedule of games and an FA Cup replay to concentrate on

Havant 3-0 Margate
Mannion (2)

Goals from Love and an Ethan Mannion brace within 35 minutes sealed a good win for us. Mannion had his chance after Palmer and Appiah were ruled out through injuries and took his chances well. Keeping the pressure on at the top of the league.

Transfer Update:
Ray Spear signed from Torquay on a three month loan. He knows the club after a spell last year on loan and we need options after losing a few to injury.

Havant 1–0 Woking (FA Cup 1st​ Round Replay)

A very tight game of few chances. We won it with a classy strike from Steve Ramsey in added time at the end of the game to clinch a 2nd​ round tie at home to Palace. Hopefully that will fill the coffers from both gate receipts and hopefully a TV appearance.

Havant 1-1 Tonbridge

Hangover from the cup replay in the week, a lot of tired players and we went behind in the first half before substitute Kingsmill slotted home an equaliser from the edge of the box.

Club Updates

The club were placed under a transfer embargo after former Middleborough Steve Gibson began talks to takeover the club.

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The good news continued with the announcement that the Palace game would be televised; meaning a huge £70k windfall for the club. Result!

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Havant 1–2 Farnborough


A really poor showing. We missed a truckload of chances in the first half and took the lead on the hour through Pericard. They equalised second half with ten remaining and as we pushed on for a winner they caught us on the break, former Pompey reserve Omar Koroma grabbing the winner. I need an extra couple of bodies on loan to cover a busy period with a bunch of tiring players.

Club Updates

Hmmm. Pope and Gibson couldn’t agree, transfer embargo lifted. I was quite looking forward to the prospect of him coming in, he can’t be short of a few quid.

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As I said at the top, not a bad run of results considering the amount of games we've had to play. We still had a game in hand over the top two which could put us 3 points off the top of the league. I still remain hopeful that Steve Gibson will come back and resume takeover talks, I'd certainly consider a prolonged stay at Havant with the right level of investment to bring the infrastructure of the side up to scratch for a push into the Football League.

Fixtures /Results

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December – January

December was a bit of an ordeal on the pitch as we still struggled with squad fitness after the cup exploits of November; dropping points from positions we should have maybe took all three. Made a couple of good signings thanks to the extra money knocking around though that should make all the difference over the rest of the season.


Transfer Update:
Tom Smith (defender) signed on non-contract terms.

St Albans 0–1 Havant

We dominated again and hit the woodwork several times. Fortunately we scored with probably one of the more speculative chances of the game, Halpin crashing one in from 30 yards. A good win that keeps us 4 points away from top placed Salisbury.

Havant 0–1 Crystal Palace (FA Cup 2nd​ Round)

We put up a good fight but went down to a second half Glenn Murray strike. The TV money and gate receipts put the club finances into three figures though so this cup run has ensured financial stability going forwards.

Transfer Update:
We made our cash signing of my reign, splashing out a club record £20k on Hayes and Yeading centre back Tom Cadmore. A real solid player for this level.

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Eastbourne 3-1 Havant

A tough game and we were soundly beaten. Mannion did bring us back to 2-1 with a bit of quick thinking but the game was put out of sight a few minutes later as we conceded a sloppy header from a corner.

Transfer Update:
Conor Hourihane was picked up on a free after his contract with Plymouth had expired at the end of last season. He looked like he could be a big player for us; a real midfield enforcer.

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Chelmsford 1-1 Havant

Good performance. We took the lead through Tom Cadmore but they levelled ten minutes later. We then had to weather a lot of pressure but came away with a good point. Salisbury starting to stretch a gap at the top of the division now though.

Havant 0-0 Canvey Island

Dull game of few chances. Kwesi Appiah came off the bench in his first game back for two months but we didn’t really trouble their keeper once.

Bishop’s Stortford 1-1 Havant

We had to field a rotated squad in this one as the game came two days after the Canvey Island clash but we did well and took the lead in the second half after Appiah worked space in the box and curled a beauty into the top corner. Looked as though we had all three when they knocked a ball into the box deep into added time and Prestedge headed in an equaliser. Poor.


Havant 2-0 Staines
Garrod (og)

Very good performance and back to winning ways. Pressure from a corner forced the first own goal and then Appiah converted penalty for the second. Solid performance.

Basingstoke 1-1 Havant

Another case of conceding a late equaliser, this time in the 87th​ minute. The run of games recently has been ridiculous though and the squad fitness is very low. Hutchinson headed home a Nanetti corner to give us the lead but then we got caught on the counter and the home side took a point.

Billericay 0-1 Havant

The Torquay loanee grabbed his first goal of the season in a game where we should have won by three or four but for some awful finishing. Billericay nearly snatched a point but the woodwork came to our rescue.

Havant 2-2 Dover

A tough game against the second placed side, we took the lead through a Halpin drive before they levelled things up. Appiah then tucked home a rebound after the visitors failed to clear a corner but then we were caught ourselves on the counter. On the face of things, a good point but Salisbury just keep winning and romping clear.

Truro 0-2 Havant

Two headers from crosses sealed this win for us. Palmer powered his home from a Halpin cross in the first half and Appiah looped one in from a Nanetti centre in the second. A good win.

Havant 2–0 Bromley
Appiah (2)

An Appiah brace sealed this one. He was on form against Bromley, scoring clinically from two one-on-one situations. Hopefully we can get a run of wins together now to try and break down Salisbury’s lead at the top.

Fixtures / Results

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Thanks mate, enjoying writing it so far. Did you stick with Croydon or hop your way up? Forming a bit of an attachment to this team at the moment but I know I'll need to move on at some point.

I won the league, FA Vase and Ryman cup treble with Croydon and I've now moved to Basingstoke Town in Blue square south. They've been stuck in the 6th tier for 15 seasons and only just stayed there last season, so it'll be good to take them up.

Good luck with Havant, hopefully you can take them up this year! Going well so far.
February – March

A good couple of months, we kept the run of form up and only fell to a single defeat; helping to close the gap even further on the leaders. That said, there weren't too many matches over the period. Had a new prospective owner enter talks but they fell over again.


Hayes and Yeading 1–3 Havant
*** (og)

Another pleasing performance, still we managed to hit the woodwork three times in this one. Pericard headed us ahead before an own goal and a close range finish from Appiah was enough to win it. They pulled one back late on but it was never in question.

Club Update
Takeover back on? Pope in talks with another ‘local businessman’.

Havant 2-1 Hayes and Yeading

Some big changes on the hour saved this one for us. The visitors controlled the first half and went in at the break ahead, but a triple change on the hour and a change of mentality swung the game. Appiah scored from close range and then Cadmore nodded in a free kick on the back post. Solid win again.


Havant 1-1 AFC Hornchurch

A really poor display against a team well out of form. We took the lead after their keeper dropped a long ball at Appiah’s feet but almost instantly conceded from a set piece. We didn’t play well at all in this one.

Club Update
Barry Hearn is the local businessman this time in talks. We’re under embargo and I hope he has the money to take us further.

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Havant 2-0 Welling

A good response after the lacklustre showing against AFC Hornchurch. Pericard capped a lovely move with a thunderous finish on ten minutes and Halpin converted a deep free kick from Wheeler in the second half. Salisbury dropped points away from home.

Club Update
Nope. Within three days talks had broken down. Sounds like our chairman is pricing us out of a sale

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Boreham Wood 0-4 Havant
Pericard (2)

This one was nil-nil at half time and then went three ahead by the hour mark. Some great goals, Pericards second being the pick after a well worked team move. Salisbury again dropped points and the gap was being squeezed even further.

Maidenhead 1-0 Havant

Tough game and they edged it, grabbing the only goal and ending a decent unbeaten run in the process. Maidenhead closed to within a point of us as a result of this match.

Havant 3–0 St Albans

Again we bounced back well from disappointment in a previous game. Wheeler and Eades wreaked havoc down the right side in the first half and provided the ammunition for Pericard and Appiah to secure a two goal advantage. Halpin sealed it in the second half.

Fixtures / Results

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League Table

(bit of an issue with this screenshot, only managed to salvage a pic of the top eight)

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April – May

The last couple of months of the season saw us maintain a great run of form as we went unbeaten to close out the season. Would it be enough to see the Hawks reach the top of the league? Read on...


Havant 2-0 Salisbury

A huge win in the title race. Appiah put us ahead with a neat finish early on and Palmer sealed it second half with a header. We rode our luck in places as they hit the frame of the goal a couple of times but all in all a well-deserved win .

Margate 0-1 Havant
Palmer (pen)

We hammered them but were guilty of missing a truckload of chances; the winner eventually coming from the spot in the second half after Appiah was hauled down in the box. We really missed Pericard up top today; the Cameroonian was injured before this match and would miss the run in.

Tonbridge 1-1 Havant

Injury to Appiah before this one put him out for the season which left us desperately short up top. Colin McCabe was called up from the youth team and marked his debut with the opener but we failed to show any fluidity and Collin equalised for the home side on twenty minutes.

Havant 1-0 Billericay

A workmanlike effort, we took the lead in the first half through Conor Hourihane’s first goal for the club. The two fit strikers (McCabe and Palmer) were in bits fitness-wise and we finished the game without a striker on the field.

Farnborough 1-1 Havant

A tough game with a weak strike force again. We went behind on fifteen and had to change it at half time due to McCabe picking up a knock; forcing us to a 4-4-1-1. We pressed forward still and got our reward when Ramsey stroked home a free kick. Going into the final game it was unbelievably tight!

Table before final game

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We needed to win and hope for Hayes and Yeading to do us a favour at home to Salisbury. Alternatively, we could draw and still win the title as long as Salisbury lost by two clear goals. It was squeaky *** time:

Havant Vs Eastbourne Boro
Hayes and Yeading Vs Salisbury


Havant 1–0 Eastbourne Boro

McCabe scored the only goal in a a nervy affair, slotting home early on in the game to give us a lead we didn’t let go of. We’d done our bit, now could Hayes and Yeading do us a job?

Other Key Results

Hayes and Yeading 0-1 Salisbury

******! Playoffs again. Archie Love had done a hamstring in that final match and would miss the playoffs; Pericard was due back to start training in a few days though so we did have some good news on the injury front

Table after final game

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Fixtures / Results after final game

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Next Update:
I did same thing. started un-employed. got hired with Havent & W. promotion 1st season. 8 games in to BSP 2nd :)
Playoffs and Close of Season – 2013/2014

Ah playoffs, we meet again. Dan Thomas was getting nowhere near the pitch after his horror throw to gift Bath the final last year (yes I have held a grudge). I am optimistic but it is the playoffs and generally they can throw up all kinds of wonders and woes. At least we had a fairly fit bunch going into the final games, we were missing Love and Appiah from the core eleven but the replacements for them were adequate.

Playoff Semi Final

Chelmsford 0–1 Havant (Play Off Semi Final 1st​ Leg)

A crucial win! Tsovolos pushed on and finished a superbly crafted passing move on the half hour and we ground out a great win in this one. Some tired legs in the squad now and not really the time to rotate the squad too much.

Havant 1–0 Chelmsford (Play Off Semi Final 2nd​ Leg)

We’d reached our second consecutive final. The clinching goal came late in the game, McCabe latching on to a Wheeler through ball and slotting past the keeper. Maidenhead won the other semi and we’d face them in the final.

Playoff Final

Havant Vs Maidenhead

Home advantage for the final (which isn’t a bug, they base it on finishing position) against an in form Maidenhead. Pericard would be back for it and the bookies had us as marginal favourites:

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Starting Lineups:

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Pericard was back and I decided to partner him with the in form McCabe up front. Ramsey would sit next to Hourihane in the absence of Love.

First Half:

Wall opened the scoring for them on 7 minutes, we switched off big time at the back. Fortunately their keeper was in a calamitous mood as he sliced a 70 yard Bergqvist clearance straight into his goal some five minutes later. 1-1.

HT: Havant 1-1 Maidenhead

Second Half:

Brought on Palmer for McCabe who had struggled first half, but the second period was a battle of attrition and neither team could take the advantage. Extra time beckoned

FT: Havant 1-1 Maidenhead

Extra Time:

I told the team to push on and despite tired legs, they obliged with the winner! Halpin worked the ball into the box and squared it for Palmer who converted at the second attempt. We then shut up shop and closed the game out. Promoted!

Final Score (AET):

Havant 2-1 Maidenhead

Lumley (og)

Playoff Results / Fixtures

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Overview of Season:

A superb season culminating in the club being promoted to the Blue Square Premier for the first time in its history. It was a bit disappointing not to catch Salisbury and clinch the title but promotion in itself was a great achievement and it was good to win the playoff final after last years disappointment. There were some great performers throughout the season, Appiah and Pericard scoring crucial goals and the likes of Hourihane and Halpin working wonders in the midfield but the standout player was Tom Cadmore. The £20k December signing from Hayes and Yeading galvanised the defence and gave us a solid spine to the team that drove a great set of results for the second half of the season.

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Squad Stats

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Transfers 2013/2014

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I’d now achieved my aim with Havant, a promotion to the Blue Square Premier within two seasons. I was a little disappointed with the failed takeovers during the season and really had to fight with the chairman to use any of the money from the cup run to strengthen the promotion charge. I don’t think he has the level of ambition to take the club further and a sale sooner rather than later would be essential. The chairman would be coming back to me soon with a new offer and with the lack of any tangiable interest in me (or any available vacancies that appealed) I decided to sign another year at Havant.
Havant and Waterlooville 2014-2015

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Pre Season

I started getting the club ready for its maiden season in the Blue Square Premier League by releasing a few bodies. It was tough, but Sam Pearce and Steve Ramsey were released after their contracts had expired. They’d both performed admirably in the previous two seasons but I felt we needed to look for better quality players if we were to make an impact in the coming season. Two of the major incoming players were former Wales cap and Rotherham striker Daniel Nardiello and Christ Kasela Mbona (released from German club Wiedenbrúck). Both would offer me great quality in the striking and central defence areas respectively. The big one we managed to get in though was Guy Demel, recently released from Premier League West Ham. He is way above Blue Square quality (scouts think he could do a job in the Championship) and he would walk straight into the defence. His contract is actually a ‘player / director of football’ which is an interesting mix but he looks like quite a coup.

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Takeover talks were all the rage again, Pope stating he would be talking to a local businessman but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Although I was building a team for the new season I was definitely thinking about moving on now; Havant were not looking to invest in the areas I felt we needed to and there was no talk of injecting cash into the club. If the chairman was to sell the club to someone who would make things happen though that could all change.

Pre-Season Friendlies

Wealdstone 0-3 Havant
Nardiello (2)

Comprehensive victory in a game we were expected to win. Nardiello looks like he will be the real deal at Conference level.

Havant 0-3 Portsmouth

Even though I wasn’t expecting too much, we took a beating here. Not too impressed with some of the performances but its pre-season and there are a few new faces in and around the club.

Havant 1-3 Barnet

A better performance in this one, again pleased to see Nardiello on the scoresheet.

Farnborough 2-0 Havant

Rotated the squad a bit and we took a surprise loss here. Not delighted with our pre-season play but we’ll see how it goes now with the season opener at Chester.


Club Updates
Before the Chester game it was announced that Barry Hearn was again in looking to buy the club.

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Chester 0-0 Havant

A very good performance against the newly promoted side from the Blue Square North. They are a team full of ability and had much the better of things in the first half so we took off the tired Nardiello at half time and brought on Howell to sit in front of the back four. Solidified things considerably and we earned a point.

Club Updates
Wow. Talks actually went through and Hearn has taken over the club! Any joy I had was short lived though when I read that he’d taken out a £5000 loan to cover club debt. Assume he got Tesco Finance to cover that one for him. Ah well, unless he was going to inject a few quid in the near future I was definitely going to look further afield for a new job.

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Havant 2-1 Stockport

Nardiello (pen)

A great result in front of a decent crowd of 1,600. Nardiello gave us the lead from the spot after Halpin was brought down but the visitors then had a lot of the play for the rest of the half. Second period they equalised from a set piece, but up popped Vincent Pericard at the back stick to head home the winner with quarter of an hour left

Gainsborough 1-0 Havant

We played well in this one but just couldn’t find the killer touch to get a goal. Pericard missed a sitter at the end of the game but we can take heart from another decent performance.

Havant 1-0 Lincoln

We worked this goal from kick off and the on loan Fanimo tucked the eventual winner away. We kept it very firm again and the defence is looking really strong, Guy Demel is a great body to have in that defence and they’ll learn a lot from his experience and ability.

Macclesfield 1-0 Havant

Our fourth game in two weeks and the team weren’t 100% going into this; the squad size is pretty tight and despite asking the incumbent chairman Hearn for more money he remains steadfast. Rainford put the home side ahead on the half hour and we rallied late in the game but couldn’t level it.

Havant 2-0 Dartford
Labonne (og)

A dominant display. Pericard should have put us ahead first half but made up for it with a crashing finish after some good work from Adam Barton. The second came from a set piece after Clerima’s header was hashed into his own net by their keeper. A good win and a very pleasing start to life in the Blue Square Premier.

All in all, not a bad start. Apart from the new chairman looking as tight as a ducks ****. Oh and loan repayments will start soon; a daunting £90 a month.

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Fixtures / Results

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League Table

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September - October

A pivotal stage in both the promotion push and a dilemma for me as a manager.


Plymouth 1-1 Havant

A great result and we broke Plymouths 100% record at the top of the division. Fanimo put us ahead with a nice finish but they equalised from a set piece on the half hour. Fanimo and Clerima have worked their way into the first team and both are impressing.

Transfer Update:
Central Midfielder Bobby Reid has joined the club on loan from Bristol City for 3 months.

Havant 0–1 Port Vale

We gave a very good account of ourselves against Port Vale but their defence stood very sternly in front of us. They took the lead five minutes into the second half and we just couldn’t force the equaliser. Still impressed with the performances of the team at the moment.

Tamworth 4-1 Havant

A very bad showing, we were comprehensively beaten by Tamworth and some of the defending was shocking. Pericard pulled back a late consolation but it was a poor display; handed out a few warnings for performances.

Havant 1-0 Hereford

A Tsovolos free kick was enough to take this one, a good performance to bounce back from the disappointment of the Tamworth game.

Forest Green 0-0 Havant

We rode our luck big time in this one, Burdon made some terrific saves and they had a dodgy looking goal disallowed. Was happy with a point and the recent two clean sheets have come after shifting Demel into a centre back position.

Transfer Update:
Striker Mark Stewart has joined the club on loan from Exeter City for 3 months.

Salisbury 1-2 Havant

A good win over last years BSS champions. Demel opened the scoring on the stroke of half time, heading home a rebound after Howell put a free kick against the bar. Palmer then stroked home the second after good work from Stewart on his debut. They pulled one back but we were worth the win.

Transfer Update:
Striker Affy Obafemi has joined the club on loan from Portsmouth for 3 months.

Havant 3-0 Hyde

The recent loan signings of Stewart and Obafemi have refreshed the front line and given great competition, both scoring in this game. Pericard gave us the lead converting a Reid free kick and then Obafemi scored a smart finish to make it two. Stewart came off the bench second half and scrambled home a rebound to seal the win.

Havant 4-1 Mansfield
Obafemi (3)

Obafemi is incredible. He smashed a hat trick and is a top finisher, the forward options at the club are now excellent. They had levelled it in the first half after Obafemi got the opener, but he then scored a quickfire brace to put us out of sight. Pericard then grabbed a decent goal to add to the goalfest.


I had a look at the job market at the start of October and the Bournemouth job is on tenterhooks as they underperform at the bottom of League One. I put a declaration of interest in and Bournemouth said they would consider a manager such as myself if they were to dispense with their current manager. The Havant board expressed their desire to keep me:

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Luton 2-2 Havant

Luton was always going to be a tough game but we did brilliantly. They took the lead but Fanimo pulled one back second half and then sub Halpin gave us the lead with a close range finish. Howells equalised late on for them but I was still happy with a very good performance and a point.

Job Update:
I applied for the Sheffield Wednesday job. The Havant board expressed they were disappointed to hear it but they needn’t worry, Wednesday laughed me off!

Havant 2–1 Braintree

We could only squeeze past a Braintree side who propped up the division. Pericard scored from close range early on but the visitors grabbed a barely deserved equaliser second half. Luckily Adam Barton converted one of the many second half chances we had, beating a couple of players and rifling home his first goal for the club.

Job Update:
So after laughing me off and obviously not finding a primary candidate ‘ideal’ for the job, Milan Mandaric approached me for the Sheffield Wednesday job. A bumper transfer budget of £3.6m and an expectation to win League One. Wednesday were down in 15th​ so the pressure would be on from the off to achieve instant results. I simply had to take this, a chance to take a huge club back up to the top. I’d be leaving Havant in a very good position, bang in form with a side capable of challenging for a playoff place this season. I’d done my job there and had a new one to do.

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So I signed off from Havant, leaving them 6th​ in the league and in touching distance of the playoffs. It wasn’t too hard a decision to leave in the end given that the new chairman lacked any real immediate ambition to take the club forward drastically. Attached are the final results and table as of my departure

Results / Fixtures

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League Table

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