Promotion is Ritchie’s top priority

New Hawks boss Stuart Ritche, right, with his assistant Sean New  Picture: Dave Haines
New Hawks boss Stuart Ritche, right, with his assistant Sean New Picture: Dave Haines
Jaosn Prior. Picture: Keith Woodland

Late heartbreak from Hawks

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Stuart Ritchie has made promotion his top priority after being named the new manager of the Hawks.

The former AFC Totton boss was last night officially confirmed as the new man in charge at Westleigh Park after signing a two-year deal.

He arrives, along with his assistant Sean New, after bringing his eight-year stay at The Stags to an end.

Ritchie’s Testwood Stadium departure coincides with Totton’s failure to win promotion from the Southern League premier division.

They suffered play-off disappointment after a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Oxford City on Monday.

But it’s a scenario the 43-year-old is not planning for next season as he aims to take the Hawks into the Blue Square Bet Premier.

‘I am very excited about this fresh, new challenge,’ said Ritchie.

‘This is a good football club and I am determined to help take them on.

‘Chairman Derek Pope and vice-chairman Jim Fallon are very passionate about the club.

‘It is ready to really go places and I see no reason why this club can’t be pushing for promotion, with the budget I have been given and the opportunity to bring players in.

‘I am very ambitious.

‘Sean and I are not good losers and we don’t want to be second best.

‘We want to win every competition we are in.’

Despite only managing at Wessex and Southern League level, Ritchie said he was the man to make the club’s ambitions a reality.

‘Although we have not managed in the Conference south before, we have experienced playing teams at this level,’ he said.

‘Playing against them each will be a different kettle of fish but we are up for the challenge.’