Out with the old, in with the new at Midhurst

The old pavilion at the Rotherfield - on its way out
The old pavilion at the Rotherfield - on its way out

It’s a good time to be a Midhurst & Easebourne supporter. 
Off the field, the club continue to press on with development of the new clubhouse. Plans have been drawn up and approved and the club are negotiating on terms with various developers to manage and carry out the work.

But to bring in the new, the old must make way and this week demolition work began on the old pavilion. Many will be sad to see it go, but there is no doubt the building had become dangerous and a bit of an eyesore and needed to go.

On the pitch is where the real story is unfolding. The Stags are enjoying a purple patch, having taken 16 points out of a possible 18 and climbing away from relegation zone in some style. The Stags’ goal tally is 24 in six games and they remain unbeaten since the first week of December.

But what can this great run of form be put down to? Gary Norgate and club captain Lewis Hamilton gave us a bit of an insight.

“I think it’s a combination of adding some quality to the side along with the enthusiasm and drive of the new management,” revealed Hamilton. “Shane (Brayson) and Dean (Inman) (the management) have both put a lot of work into the training sessions and their ideas of how they want us to set up as a team is something everyone is buying into.”

Norgate said: “For the first time in a few seasons we’ve managed to have a settled squad and team which is vitally important at any standard of football. Coupled with the numbers at training, everyone has a role which is worked on at training and applied to on match days.”

Manager Brayson and his assistant Inman have been working hard bringing in many players from the Wessex League and there seems be a direct correlation between their arrival and the upturn in performance.

Hamilton said: “They have added a lot of quality to our side, no-one is guaranteed a start any more and we have 18 to 20 lads more than capable of doing a job for the first team.”

Norgate feels the new signings have added quality and stopped Midhurst being regarded as something of a soft touch.

“I think the fact they’ve all come from the Wessex league or that area has helped. That’s a more physical league and they’ve all added a bit of steel which we’ve lacked for a number of seasons.”

Leading the club’s scoring charts with 16 goals in 23 games, Norgate is happy to have cemented the centre-forward position, having found himself in midfield and even defence in recent seasons.

“I have enjoyed being in one settled position as being up top is my preferred choice. The past few seasons have seen me play in several positions which I don’t mind at all – anything to help the team out. The goals have been a plus and always nice, but the most important thing has been the change in fortunes for the team.”

Hamilton says while the run of form is good, the players aren’t getting too ahead of themselves.

“Our target for the rest of the season is to quite simply win as many of the remaining games as possible. We aren’t in any cup competitions so it’s important we push on as much as possible this season so next season we can challenge for trophies.”

It is clear that the changes being made on and off the pitch are generating momentum and enthusiasm which can carry a team a long way.

JAMES GLUE