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Breaking News: Press Release From Hampton & Richmond Borough

Thanks to Rob Overfield, Press Officer at Hampton, for this release. Follow Rob on twitter: @RabidRobo

Powell is the fans' choice to replace Harper

Powell is the fans’ choice to replace Harper

Following the resignation of Mark Harper on Monday, we are pleased to confirm that Paul Barry and Darren Powell have agreed to take over first team management until the end of the season. We trust that supporters will give Paul and Darren their full backing until we are able confirm a permanent appointment for the forthcoming season beginning with our next home game this Thursday versus Enfield. The position of first team manager is under active consideration with an encouraging number of applications having already been received. The club will keep supporters advised as soon as we are in a position to make further announcements.

In addition, Peter Augustine, currently Director of the Academy, has agreed to take over management of the Suburban & Capital league sides. The club would like to thank Paul, Darren and Peter for stepping in at short notice to assist the club at this time.

Next season, the reserve team structure will be re-organised with one side participating in the Suburban League and consisting of the most promising Academy and senior squad players. We believe that this will allow a more seamless development of players through the Academy structure into first team football.

Andy Smith, Lee Wain and Nigel Edgecombe have all resigned from the roles at the club and we would like to express our appreciation for their efforts during their time at Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Hampton Looking For New Manager After Harper Resigns

mark harperIt has emerged today that Mark Harper has tendered his resignation as manager of Hampton & Richmond Borough following a disappointing Easter weekend which saw The Beavers lose both matches without scoring.

Assistant Andy Smith also appears to have left the club, while a lot of players seem to be unhappy with the current situation at Beveree Stadium.

Hampton currently sit fourteenth in the table, without a home win since last October. A more in depth article will follow…

Harper On The Brink?

beavers-mainAs most of you will know, I support Hampton & Richmond Borough. Even if you didn’t know, I would say that it’s pretty obvious if you look through the archives on this site! This weekend, Sunday 30th December to be precise, the club’s board issued the following statement on the official website regarding the club’s recent poor form and the future of manager Mark Harper:

The Board understand and agree with our supporters’ current frustration and disappointment at our recent form culminating in the Boxing Day defeat at home to Carshalton Athletic. As a Board we set our expectations high at the start of the season and these have not altered.

Whilst we still support Mark Harper and the players and believe that they can turn the current slump round we expect to see an immediate improvement over the next three league games as they are crucial for the club in achieving our aims this season and Mark has been informed of our expectations of both him and the squad .We are constantly monitoring performances and results and will make whatever decisions we believe are in the best interest of the club in order to fulfill our ambitions for the season.

We would ask all our supporters to make the short trip to Kingsmeadow on the 1st January to get behind the team and management for this crucial game against our local rivals.

Pretty interesting reading, I’m sure you’ll agree. To the casual observer, it might come as a bit of a shock that the manager would be under pressure just yet; after all, the team are only two points off the playoffs, and ten off the leaders. However, there has been an alarming slump in form, and in more than just results; the performances to go with those results have been below average at best, and downright awful at times. After a sensational start to the season which saw the team go nine matches unbeaten before succumbing to their first league defeat, the wheels have spectacularly fallen off the promotion wagon. That first defeat came at Wealdstone, when The Beavers threw away a two goal lead to lose 3-2, and sparked a dismal run of seven defeats in nine league games.

The home form in particular has been seriously depressing. The Beveree faithful have not seen a home win in the league since October 13th, and that was a scrappy 1-0 victory against Whitehawk courtesy of an 85th minute Charlie Moone goal. Four successive home defeats have followed, and the team have plummeted from top spot to ninth in the Ryman Premier Division table. In fact, Borough have not won a single home match in any competition by more than a one goal margin. While you can argue that you only get three points for a win regardless of the score, the fact that we seem to struggle to break teams down while not keeping things tight at the back is worrying. It almost seems as if the team is set up at home as if they are the away team; try and soak up pressure while looking to break. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work when the opposition are also doing the same thing.

The goals of Charlie Moone have papered over a lot of cracks this season. He has netted seventeen times already this season in all competitions, but quite often they’ve been a wonder strike or a goal from very little. He is not the tallest striker on the planet either, yet the tactic repeatedly seems to be to hit a long ball and hope that he will win a header against a much bigger centre back. And while we are on the subject of tactics, Harper’s substitutions are sometimes a little, well, strange. A few weeks ago, Borough were trailing 1-2 at home to Margate, and Harper took off striker Joel Ledgister and replaced him with Malvin Kamara, a right back! There were two strikers on the bench at the time! And a lot of the time, he waits until the last ten minutes of a game before making his first change. Hardly enough time for a player to make an impact, and probably puts added pressure on that player to do so.

I’ve thought for a while that the squad is unbalanced. There is only one goalkeeper on the books, which is understandable at this level. Paying a reserve to sit on the bench with very little chance of them playing does not make good business sense. However, there are no wingers in the squad; instead Ledgister and Mo Harkin tend to be used as makeshift widemen, and often on the “wrong” side for their stronger foot. There are plenty of central midfielders at the club, but only two spots in the team, and most of them are idenikits of each other. Upfront, there are four strikers, yet two of them – JJ Bates and Mo Bettamer – very rarely get any game time despite looking decent when they do get on the pitch.

Harper recently gave an interview in which he said that some players were “in the last chance saloon”, which is harsh in the extreme considering that he very rarely changes his starting lineup, and doesn’t give his substitutes much time to influence a game or his opinion. Shortly after, he also said that he might do a “two in, two out” deal, but as yet nothing has materialised on that front either. It is things like this, together with poor results and performances that have alienated a sizeable portion of the fans. The crowds are well down too; last Boxing Day there were just short of 700 fans to see the match with Staines Town. This year, just 269 turned up for the match with Carshalton Athletic. Yes, last season was a local derby, and yes we have been relegated since then, but that is a huge downturn in attendance.

Since taking charge at the start of last season, he has overseen sixty league games, with a win percentage of just 30% (thanks to @RavitAnand from Football Exclusives for that statistic). All of this has led to the inevitable doubts as to whether the team are still playing for the manager. This statement from the board is the perfect opportunity to see whether the players are onside or not. I sincerely hope that the performances and results improve, and that Mr Harper saves his job, but the writing could well be on the wall.

Beavers Back To Winning Ways

The Beavers returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory in North London, against a Wingate & Finchley squad that are finding life tough this season. Read the rest of this entry

Beavers Find The Gate A Big Barrier

Hampton & Richmond Borough suffered their second successive league defeat last Saturday, a result which sees them drop out of the top five for the first time this season. Read the rest of this entry

Beavers Over The Moone With Trophy Win

Hampton saw off fellow Ryman Premier side Leiston at the second time of asking at Beveree Stadium thanks to a brace from Charlie Moone and a fine strike from Tom Hickey in his last game before a five game suspension.

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Beavers’ Start A Dream

Seven clean sheets in the first eight games of the season, and joint top of the Isthmian League Premier Division table, not to mention still in the FA Cup. What a dream start to the season for Hampton & Richmond Borough! Read the rest of this entry

Beavers Crack Walnut Boys

Hampton & Richmond Borough avoided the cliched “banana skin” to cruise into the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup at the expense of AFC Kempston Rovers, and achieved a new club record along the way. Read the rest of this entry

Ashford Town v Hampton & Richmond

The Robert Parker Stadium

Saturday, July 28th was a good day for me. I regularly watch two non-league clubs; Hampton & Richmond Borough and Ashford Town (Middlesex). On the aforementioned date, these two clubs played each other at Ashford’s Robert Parker Stadium in a preseason friendly.

I had dramas leading up to the game, as my car pretty much gave up the ghost, and I had to ask the wife to borrow hers! With that sorted, I headed off to Ashford’s ground in anticipation of a cracking match in perfect footballing conditions. I was also looking forward to one of their tasty hotdogs! Alas, that didn’t happen as the lady who normally runs the snack bar was away, but I did have a couple of lovely cold rolls and a coffee.

The absence of a team sheet didn’t make things any easier regarding who was turning out to play, but between us we fathomed most of the team! There appeared to be only one unfamiliar face lining up at the start, in the number eleven shirt for Hampton. Both sides had early headers go over, Charlie Moone for Hampton, and Dan Brown’s looping effort for the home side. Brown raced clear of the Beavers’ backline after a dozen minutes, but Craig Ross pulled off a good near post save to deny the striker.

Against the run of play, Hampton took the lead. Karle Carder played a lofted through ball to trialist JJ Bates, and the ex-Harrow Borough forward lifted the ball over the onrushing Ashford goalkeeper to break the deadlock. It was a lovely show of pace and composure from the striker, and only makes me want Hampton to sign him even more! Hopefully, there will be news of that in the coming days.

Ashford continued to be the better side for the remainder of the first half, and could consider themselves unlucky to be behind at the interval. Mark Bitmead almost levelled when his cross nearly deceived Craig Ross, but the ball nestled in the side netting. Hampton manager Mark Harper changed goalkeeper at half time, with Rodney Chiweshe taking Ross’ place between the sticks, and he was called into action immediately. Dan Brown got through and outmuscled Dean Inman, but his shot was easily repelled by the sub keeper.

The remainder of the game passed without too much incident or goalmouth action, and was most memorable for Ashford’s chairman, Dave Baker, chatting to me and Rob (Press Officer at Hampton) for the whole of the second half. A nicer bloke it would be tough to meet.

The game finished 1-0 to Hampton, and was n the whole a very enjoyable experience. It was great to see the two clubs I watch most playing each other, and great to see two clubs playing football the “right way.” There is still plenty of work for Mark Harper and his staff to do before the start of the Isthmian season, but there were some good signs. JJ Bates looked really good, and Karle Carder had an excellent match. And, of course, there was a clean sheet kept.

On top of the team that played today, there are still some important players to come back. James Simmonds, our most creative and impressive midfielder, and Billy Jeffreys, a good centreback, are in the US and due back before the season starts. Joe Ledgister should hopefully sign a new deal and score the goals this season.

All in all, things are looking promising for the coming season, and I cannot wait for it to get underway.

Preseason Underway For Beavers

Hampton & Richmond Borough got their preseason programme underway on Wednesday, July 11th, with a home game against League One side Brentford.

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