Hawks set to announce new boss

Former Hawks player Stuart Ritchie
Former Hawks player Stuart Ritchie
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170972-31)

Bradbury hails his steely Hawks

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The Hawks are set to announce their new management team at Westleigh Park tomorrow night.

And AFC Totton boss Stuart Ritchie is believed to be in the box seat.

After parting company with Shaun Gale a month before the end of the season, the Hawks gave the task of Blue Square Bet South survival to caretaker duo Steve Johnson and Adie Aymes.

A stoppage-time goal defeated Staines Town 3-2 on the final day of the season and saw them stay up by the skin of their teeth.

Ever since Gale’s exit, though, the Hawks board have insisted the need for a fresh approach next term.

The club originally intended to unveil their new boss on the final day of the season but have twice postponed the announcement.

Regardless, speculation has intensified over the past fortnight that Ritchie and assistant Sean New are set to take over.

The pair have given notice of their intention to quit the Stags at the end of the season.

Ritchie, who played 48 games for the Hawks in the 1990s, has had eight successful years with AFC Totton.

He has guided them from the Wessex League to the brink of the Blue Square Bet South, while also leading the Stags to the first round of the FA Cup where they took on Bristol Rovers live on ITV.

Hawks secretary Trevor Brock insists the delays are nothing to do with Totton’s involvement in the Southern League play-offs, though.

‘We want to get the process right and it’s taking a little longer than anticipated to fit in all the interviews,’ he said.

Ebbsfleet boss – and former Hawks manager – Liam Daish has been linked with the post.

Meanwhile, the names of Mark Stimson, Frank Gray and former Westleigh Park defender Neil Sharp have also been bandied around.

One change already announced is the Hawks kit for next season – a return to the popular all-white.

It will cost more to watch the Hawks next season, too.

Entry at the turnstiles increases to £12 for adults and £7 for concessions.

‘We are determined to be a competitive force in the league next season and that comes at a price,’ said Brock.

‘We’re in a better position than ever off the pitch but we’re serious about aiming to match that in the league.’

Season ticket prices will also rise to £180 for adults and £105 for concessions.

The family ticket – two adults and two children aged up to 15 – remains £357.

However, these prices now include automatic membership to the Westleigh Club. £15 extra will ensure a reserved seat in the stand, too.

– KEVIN RICKETTS