Beavers In Chaos
Easter was not a time of harmony at Hampton & Richmond Borough, with first team manager Mark Harper and his assistant Andy Smith departing following two disappointing defeats, only to be followed out of the door by the reserve team management over a communication shambles.
Following last Saturday’s home defeat to Kingstonian, Hampton travelled to Carshalton Atheltic on Easter Monday looking for a morale boosting win. However, a shambolic 0-3 defeat to the bottom club in the division proved to be the last straw. Harper resigned, possibly with the slightest nudge, leaving the club looking for a new boss. Strangely, his assistant, Andy Smith, had already walked out before Harper’s resignation. It appears that it isn’t just down to results, though, that has caused this turn of events. Budget cuts, undelivered promises, and unpaid player wages and bonuses could all be contributing factors. In fact, in an interview with Pitchero, Harper cited internal politics at the club as a big reason behind his departure, and that he had been thinking about it for six weeks.
Defender Max Hustwick tweeted the following after the Carshalton defeat:
“Feel sorry for my manager top bloke fighting a losing battle, clubs a joke that’s me done”
I replied asking if that meant he had left, to which he tweeted:
“@undertheleague yeah mate the place is a mess if only people knew”
Doesn’t make for great reading if you’re a Beaver. Hustwick went on to tweet about the lack of a training ground or that there were no training tops for the squad, how he hadn’t had a single win bonus that had been agreed, and that the club had let top scorer Charlie Moone walk out of the door. Now, while the first ones might be true, there was nothing the club could do about Moone. He wasn’t contracted to the club, and Boreham Wood made a seven day approach for him. Why wouldn’t he go? A club chasing promotion into the Conference Premier comes in for you? Please. It’s a no brainer. Good luck Charlie. We would be fighting relegation if it wasn’t for the ten points your goals won us this season!
As far as the finances are concerned, it is a very worrying situation. I have always been of the opinion that once you fail to pay your players on time, it can be a very slippery slope. However, considering the amount of home games that have been postponed because of the collapsed drainage under the pitch, coupled with the dwindling crowds, and it’s no surprise that funds would be a little tight. That said, players deserve to be paid, and there may be more following Hustwick and Moone out the door if things don’t improve.
As for the reserve team, this has been restructured for next season. Currently, there are teams competing in both the Capital and Suburban Leagues, but from next season there will just be one reserve team, competing in the Suburban League. Unfortunately, it seems that Lee Wain, the manager of the Capital team, was not made aware of this decision until he received an email from the Capital League asking why his team had withdrawn from the competition. Needless to say, this did not go down well, and Mr Wain resigned, meaning that pretty much a whole new management structure needs to be established.
It certainly seems to be a mess currently, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel. As I have been writing this article, the club has issued a press release stating that fans’ favourite and club captain, Darren Powell, along with coach Paul Barry, will oversee the first team for the rest of the season.
It looks like being an interesting end to this season, and a similarly interesting summer ahead for Beavers supporters.