‘I should have dealt with things a bit better’ – Zak Sharp explains reasons behind shock decision to swap Baffins Milton for AFC Portchester

Zak Sharp has revealed the reasons behind his shock U-turn that saw him switch from Baffins Milton Rovers to Wessex League Premier Division rivals AFC Portchester.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 12:13 pm
Zak Sharp, left, in action for Moneyfields in 2019/20. After agreeing to stay at Baffins last week, the defender has subsequently signed for AFC Portchester. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

The former Baffins captain was branded an 'embarrassment' by Rovers boss Shaun WIlkinson for the handling of his move to the Royals.

Sharp, 22, had initially committed to Baffins last week – the club had announced the fact on social media - before being unveiled as a Portchester player yesterday.

The former Moneyfields and Blackfield and Langley defender explained how he 'verbally agreed' to join Dave Carter's side 'weeks ago', only to have his 'head turned' when Baffins came back with an improved offer.

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However, Sharp says he was finally convinced to make the move to The Crest Finance Stadium when he was offered a 'deal-breaking' coaching role within the club's set-up along with his playing responsibilities next term.

The Gosport-based full-back admitted his handling of the situation 'could have been better', but his move to Portchester was a 'no-brainer' for a number of reasons.

Sharp said: 'I spoke to Mobie (Dave Carter, AFC Portchester boss) a few weeks ago and we had a chat about things for next season and verbally agreed to sign for Portchester.

‘I told Shaun (Wilkinson) and Thommo (Danny Thompson, Baffins assistant manager) what had gone on and then I had a meeting with them two and they offered me a better deal. They said Portchy were getting me in because they wanted to get all the best players around - they basically turned my head so I agreed to stay.

‘Mobie found out and I had another meeting with him and he offered me coaching - I’m a coach, I’ve got a degree in coaching from university - within the under-23s as well as playing.

‘For me, that was a deal-breaker, it was what I’ve always wanted and at Baffins they couldn’t offer me that. Then in the meantime it was all on social media.

‘All the boys at Baffins I get on with and they’re my good mates and stuff, but I just think the experience and the players that Portchy have got - it could be anything and Baffins could finish above Portchy next year - it’s just a decision I had to make and I made it.

‘Yes, I admit I probably should have dealt with things a little bit better, but it’s Wessex football and not Premier League football.

‘It just happens, players agree with more than two clubs sometimes, then they decide where they want to go.'

Wilkinson claimed he received a call from an agent rather than Sharp over the weekend to inform him of the fact his captain had joined Portchester.

But Sharp says he did not ask his former agent Darren Edney, who previously looked after his affairs when he went on trial to Southend in the summer of 2019, to speak to Wilkinson.

And the former Baffins captain insists he has messaged both boss Wilkinson and assistant manager Danny Thompson to call him but had no response.

Yet, Sharp is hoping to have talk with both of them in the 'next week or so'.

He added: 'On the back of when we won the Southern League Division 1 a few years ago at Blackfield & Langley I got a trial at Southend. Because I got the trial you need an agent just in case you get a contract.

‘Obviously, I got Darren (Edney) my agent - I think I signed two years with him a few years ago. If it had gone well at Southend and I’d been offered a contract to cover my back it would have been better to get an agent - I don’t know the pro game, the pro game can be political.

‘Even though I’m not actually signed for him now, he still looks out for me because he lives in Gosport where I live. I’ve known him for a few years.

‘I have texted them both (Shaun and Danny), I did say ‘give me a call this evening when I’m home’, but he (Shaun) didn’t bother.

‘I will give them a call later this week or when things have calmed down. I do respect him (Shaun), I do get on with him really well, and I do appreciate him making me captain and appreciate the club.

‘However, for me, it was just a no-brainer to move with Portchester … financially, coaching-wise, closer to home and just the squad level.

'That’s what really went on. I could have dealt with the situation better - but I’ve got a lot going on at home with a new baby.

‘I wanted to weigh up the pros and cons while keeping them both happy.'