Newly-appointed New Milton Town management duo Darran Atkins and Steve May hope to use their…
…Havant & Waterlooville connections to help boost Linnets’ squad.
The pair both spent part of their playing careers with the Hawks in the recent years before the club were promoted to the Blue Square Bet South.
“I only spent a year at the club, while Steve featured in the first-team for three seasons (2000-2003),” said ex-striker Atkins.
“We have both kept our Havant links, though, with charity games and other club functions and know manager Shaun Gale through those events.
“Our main aim is to develop the local players at New Milton, but with Shaun’s help we may be able to add a little more quality,” added Atkins.
While 42-year-old Atkins hung up his boots in 2004, May occasionally dons the goalkeeping gloves and finished last season playing for Linnets’ relegation rivals Hayling United.
“Although Steve is a few years older than me, he can’t resist helping out. He is a great goalkeeper and I’m sure that was part of the appeal for New Milton.”
Apart from Havant, Atkins has played Wessex football for Eastleigh and Moneyfields.
May, meanwhile, has also turned out for Horndean, Fareham Town and Gosport Borough.
Atkins and May’s first taste of football management came last season with a five-month spell in the Sussex County League with Division Two outfit Littlehampton Town.
“We only went there on a temporary basis to help out. It was good experience and gave us a chance to cut our teeth as a partnership,” explained Atkins.
“We both have more than twenty-two years` experience at this level or above and feel we have a lot to offer. We’ve always wanted to put something back into the game. We’re not in it for the money and only want to help New Milton fulfil their potential.”
Linnets finished nineteenth in the Wessex Premier last season – staving off relegation by just six points.
“The club has fantastic facilities and should be challenging for a top-10 position and not fighting against relegation,” added Atkins.
The Fareham-based duo’s wealth of non-League experience was an important factor in their appointment.
“Both have their coaching badges and have good all-round experience,” said Linnets secretary Richie Phippard. “Out of the four we interviewed, they impressed us the most.”
The pair take over from Paul Hardyman, who left Fawcett’s Field to take up a youth academy post with Portsmouth and his deputy Mark Winzar who quit at the end of last season due to work commitments.