Wilson’s Wisdom: Intense rivalry can spur clubs on to success

Lee Bradbury and Alex Pike, right, ahead of their FA Trophy semi-final in 2014. Picture: Paul Jacobs (14432-3)

Lee Bradbury and Alex Pike, right, ahead of their FA Trophy semi-final in 2014. Picture: Paul Jacobs (14432-3)

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Most of us enjoy a good rivalry.

But non-league neighbours Gosport Borough and Havant & Waterlooville are taking things to a whole new level.

I’ll give you a quick potted history.

Gosport have joined the Hawks at National League South level – two divisions below the Football League – after two promotions in recent seasons and have now established themselves at the standard.

The pair met in a hotly-contested FA Trophy semi-final two seasons ago but it was Borough who ended up going to Wembley on that occasion.

Last season, the Hawks put in offers to sign Borough striker Matt Paterson, both of which were declined. Then Paterson left in the summer anyway.

Now Borough want him back and have had a bid turned down.

Hawks, meanwhile, quite fancy nabbing Borough’s record goalscorer Justin Bennett to rekindle a prolific partnership that worked so well at Privett Park.

They’ve had two bids turned down this week.

A few jibes have been directed between the clubs.

And it’s fair to say they are not the best of buddies.

Alex Pike at Gosport and Lee Bradbury at Hawks are very different characters but both men are desperate for their clubs to succeed and put in a huge amount of work to make that happen – as do many other people in non-league football.

The non-league can be a murky world at times but the beauty of it is that it’s far less sanitised than the professional game, where so many people are afraid to say what they really think.

Some people prefer everyone to be friends but the good thing about a genuine rivalry is that it usually spurs both parties on to greater heights as they attempt to outdo one another.

And one thing is for certain, I want to see all of our local clubs doing well.

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