Gosport ‘buzzing’ from unbeaten run

Winning team: Gosport chairman Mark Hook, left, and manager Alex Pike
Winning team: Gosport chairman Mark Hook, left, and manager Alex Pike
AFC Portchester cruised to victory. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Gosport Borough chairman Mark Hook is delighted with the impact his side’s record 21-game unbeaten league run is having at the club.

Nearly 600 supporters – Privett Park’s biggest crowd of the season – turned up to see Borough beat league leaders Leamington on Saturday.

The 2-0 win took Gosport up to fourth in the Southern League premier division and boosted their end-of-season play-off ambitions.

It is a remarkable turnaround for Alex Pike’s men – who go to Bemerton Heath Harlequins in the Russell-Cotes Cup semi-final tonight – after they struggled to find their feet at the start of the season.

Following last season’s promotion from the south & west division via the play-offs, it looked as though the next level may prove a step too far, with Borough winning just once in their opening 11 matches.

Pike and his assistant Mick Catlin refused to panic, however, and maintained faith in their players.

That has been paid back in dramatic fashion and since losing 1-0 at Bedford at the beginning of November, no-one else has managed to lower Borough’s colours.

‘Our present run is having a huge impact within the club,’ said Hook.

‘Morale is fantastic and the whole place is buzzing.

‘It was pleasing to see so many Gosport people turn out to get behind the team against Leamington.

‘We were able to show them the attractive, attacking football that has got us to where we are.

‘Hopefully they and a few more will come back the next time.

‘It took us a while to adjust at the start of the season but we refused to panic.

‘We always believed the squad of players we had here were good enough.’

Hook believes Gosport are equipped to make further progress up the non-league pyramid.

He eventually wants to see Borough reach Blue Square Bet South and a lot of hard work has gone in over the past seven years to prepare for that.

Privett Park already has grading for that level with a new entrance, turnstile and stand in place.

Borough did experience a financial blip earlier in the season when the payment of their players was delayed.

But Hook insists that was down to a misunderstanding with their bank.

Hook is now keen to see new people becoming involved at the club.

‘We have tried to do things sensibly and put the foundation blocks in place,’ he said.

‘Consistency of manager and many of the directors over the past seven years has helped.

‘Football doesn’t come cheap at this level, though, and we are always interested in new directors and sponsorships.

‘The people we are looking for are those who understand what the non-league game is about.’