Ex-Arundel boss leads Midhurst into new beginning

New Midhurst boss Gary Wheatcroft
New Midhurst boss Gary Wheatcroft

MIDHURST are ‘99.9 per cent sure’ they will be playing in division two of the Sussex League next season - and will do so with a new manager.

The club have been in talks with league officials over their standing for the new campaign after a number of local sides were relegated in a league restructuring process governed by ground gradings.

Bosham have already suffered – having been relegated because of minor ‘problems’ with their Walton Lane ground despite finishing 11th out of 16 in division three.

Chichester City are also unhappy at being relegated from division one when a number of sides are being promoted from division two without having finished in the promotion places.

However, it seems the Stags have been left unscathed by the reform and are looking forward to improving on last season’s bottom-half finish.

Midhurst chairman Darren Chiverton said: “We’ve been in talks with the league and I’m 99.9 per cent sure we’ll be staying in division two for next year, but I’ve not heard anything concrete.

“The deadline that we were told a decision would be made was last Tuesday and I’ve not heard anything since, so I assume that we’re staying put.”

The side are also buoyed by the appointment of Gary Wheatcroft following Trevor Waller’s decision to join Petersfield.

Wheatcroft, who was on Pompey, Southampton and Bournemouth’s books earlier in his career, left Arundel in January 2011 after six months in charge.

Midhurst shipped 102 goals last season, the second-highest total across the Sussex League, just three goals less than Chichester City.

And the chairman knows that the next task on the cards is to improve the playing squad if they are to better last season’s 15th-placed finish.

Chiverton added: “We’ve got a great manager in Gary – he’s had a great playing career and he’s also managed a couple of sides.

“We’ve got a great backbone to the squad from last year and we score plenty of goals, but it’s at the other end of the pitch that we need to work on.

“We’re looking to bring in a couple of defenders, but we’re also looking for a midfielder and a striker.”

Wheatcroft will be joined by his new assistant, ex-AFC Wimbledon and Selsey midfielder Jamie Angell, who will also play for the side next season.

The pair join Midhurst in a transitional period for the club, with division-one ambitions in the pipeline and improvements being made to the Rotherfield stadium.

DAN BRETT