Gosport supremo dismisses Pike exit fears

Alex Pike, right, celebrates Gosport's play-off final win with chairman Mark Hook    Picture: Steve Reid
Alex Pike, right, celebrates Gosport's play-off final win with chairman Mark Hook Picture: Steve Reid
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Keith Woodland

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Alex Pike is staying to lead Gosport in the Southern League premier division next season.

That is the pledge from Borough chairman Mark Hook, who is adamant his manager is going nowhere.

Pike has been linked with the vacant AFC Totton hot seat following Stuart Ritchie’s departure for the Hawks.

According to Hook, though, no approach has been made for the boss who has been at Privett Park since December 2005.

Pike led Gosport into the premier division following a 3-1 play-off final victory over Poole on Monday.

And his chairman sees him remaining at the helm for many years to come.

Hook said: ‘This is the normal managerial merry-go-round.

‘I take it as a compliment that Alex has been linked with other jobs – but he is going nowhere.

‘We have heard rumours of Totton and that is understandable.

‘It is only natural he will be linked with clubs because he is a successful manager.

‘There is nothing in it, though.

‘I talk to Alex on a regular basis. Putting football to one side, we are also good friends and don’t keep secrets from each other.

‘That is the friendship and relationship we have. If he had spoken to anyone, he would have told me.

‘There has been no official approach.

‘To be honest, these sort of rumours will escalate during the summer.

‘Other managers will leave and Alex’s name will no doubt be linked with other clubs.

‘He is a tremendous asset to Gosport, though, and will be staying.’

Gosport will, however, be without Steve Claridge next season. Tuesday’s two-goal hero has announced his retirement at the age of 46.

Regardless, Hook is tipping a bright future for Gosport.

He added: ‘It will be a great experience next season.

‘That squad of players will be kept together and the manager is looking forward to the challenge.

‘We will work to consolidate and then kick on.

‘The five-year plan is to get into the Conference – but first we need to find out where next season takes us and move on from there.

‘The ground is up to Conference South standard, though.’