Borough worries over Pike future

Alex Pike, right, with Borough chairman Mark Hook
Alex Pike, right, with Borough chairman Mark Hook
Theo Lewis scored for the Hawks in the 38th minute at Wealdstone. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Mark Hook admits he has growing concerns that Alex Pike could be tempted away from Gosport Borough.

This season the Borough boss led the club to a 12th-place finish in their first campaign at Skrill South level and an FA Trophy final at Wembley following two successive promotions in the past two years.

But his impressive track record has now sparked interest in him from clubs at Skrill Premier level, with Woking, Aldershot Town and Welling United among those potentially in the frame for his services.

While the Borough chairman insists he has had no official approach from any club to speak to Pike, he understands why there would be interest in his manager, who is out of contract this summer alongside assistant Mick Catlin.

Hook said: ‘There is a concern – and rightly so.

‘Clubs that might be coming in for Alex now are bigger than Gosport and will have more financial clout than us.

‘Alex is no different to any player or manager that wants to prove himself at the highest level possible. I understand that.

‘I would be more concerned if clubs weren’t sniffing around him. But every summer I have to go through the managerial merry-go-round.

‘Alex’s name has been linked to numerous clubs over the many seasons he has been with Gosport because he is a very successful manager.

‘This season he achieved a mid-table finish in Conference South and a visit to Wembley, so his name is being bandied around.

‘It’s something I am used to and we are good enough friends that we talk about these things openly.

‘There will be clubs interested in Alex and I take that as a compliment to our club and to our manager.

‘But we want Alex to remain with us and there are some exciting times ahead at this club.

‘No club has contacted me directly to ask to speak to our manager.

‘However, I know how football works.’

Much will depend on whether Gosport can match Pike’s ambition and he has made no secret of the fact that he would like to eventually manage in the Football League.

But while Hook has indicated that Borough will be attempting to gain promotion again next season, he has no plans to increase the playing budget significantly as yet.

‘I would envisage the budget being about the same as it was for this season,’ said Hook.

‘If there is further investment into the club, then we would be looking to improve it.

‘But when you look at our second half of the season, we took 36 points from 18 games. If you can emulate that over a season, it would be good enough to get into the play-offs.

‘We have ambitions to make it to the Conference Premier but it has to be done in the right way.

‘We want to improve the facilities so that we can go for Conference Premier in the fullness of time.

‘I’m not suggesting that will be next season but when the time is right.

‘We’ve seen clubs struggle financially and all the decisions will be made in the best interests of the club.

‘But we will be completely debt free this summer and there are a lot of clubs who cannot say that.’