D-day looms for Borough as Pike eyes calmer waters
Gosport Borough are at a crossroads.
They can find new investment, stop flirting with financial meltdown and back their boss – even if it means chairman Mark Hook and his board walking away.
Or accept a life a lot more ordinary and wave goodbye to Alex Pike.
Because let’s face it, few could argue if the manager cleared his desk and told the club he’d had enough after repeatedly having the rug pulled out from underneath him.
It is one of the worst kept secrets in non-league that Pike is in the frame for the vacant job at AFC Totton.
The Southern League outfit are expected to announce their new manager very soon – maybe even before you read this column.
But whether that is Pike or not, his days at Privett Park are numbered.
And who could blame him for walking away?
Borough fans must be tired of their team promising so much only to disappoint in dramatic fashion.
Talk of transfer embargoes, unpaid debts, player unrest and missing wages have become synonymous with the club in recent times.
Every time a new rumour surfaces it is rebuffed.
Idle chit-chat and childish grudges are often thrust forward as the root of the evil.
But every time those rumours turn out to be true.
And as for the unveiling of Jim Fallon as the club’s saviour this summer? Seriously?
His footballing back catalogue is chequered to put it mildly.
But it appears those inside the Privett Park gates were the only ones who did not see his broken promises coming.
Fallon left a £40,000 hole in the club’s budget, just months after fans watched hopes of promotion to the top flight of the National League evaporate in a haze of empty wage packets.
Players, most notably the club’s record goalscorer Justin Bennett, have run out of patience and walked away.
And it can only be a matter of time before Pike does the same.
Make no mistake, the fans have enjoyed some great times during his tenure.
The rise from the Wessex League to National League South has been remarkable, while the FA Trophy run will live long in the memory.
It has been a golden era. But the party is over.
While it may be heartbreaking to leave the club he holds so dear, ambition still burns in Pike.
And the time has come for the board to admit they cannot match it.
Borough approach Saturday’s clash at Hemel Hempstead Town hoping to avoid a fourth consecutive league defeat as those aforementioned rumours abound once more.
They have swerved tonight’s Portsmouth Senior Cup meeting with the Hawks – a move which has only led to more tongues wagging.
Whether there is any fire to accompany the latest plumes of smoke emanating from Privett Park remains to be seen.
But on recent form, few would bet against it.
So Borough, it’s over to you.
Sourcing funds at this level of sport is tough. We get it. No-one envies those who are struggling to balance the books.
So if those readies are not forthcoming (and we all hope they are), perhaps it is time to admit the dream is over, tighten the belts and plan for the future.
It is most probably a Southern League future.
It is most certainly a future without Alex Pike.