‘It was the right time for a new challenge’ – Harry Sargeant on turning down US Portsmouth and Moneyfields to sign for Baffins Milton Rovers

Midfielder Harry Sargeant is relishing a new challenge after agreeing to join Wessex League Premier Division side Baffins Milton Rovers.

Harry Sargeant celebrates after scoring US Portsmouth's second goal in the FA Vase quarter-final win against Flackwell Heath. Picture: Stuart Martin
Harry Sargeant celebrates after scoring US Portsmouth's second goal in the FA Vase quarter-final win against Flackwell Heath. Picture: Stuart Martin

The 22-year-old was wanted by three teams this summer, turning down the chance to stay at former club US Portsmouth and follow his old boss Glenn Turnbull to Moneyfields, in favour of linking up with Rovers.

Sargeant, who was part of USP s incredible run to the FA Vase semi-finals, considered staying under new manager Tom Grice at the Victory Stadium or joining several of his team-mates from last term in moving to Moneys.

However, he felt the time was right to step away from familiar surroundings at USP - where he's spent the past three seasons - and take on a different challenge with Shaun Wilkinson's Baffins team.

Sargeant revealed: 'I had the offer to stay at US Portsmouth or go across to Moneys, but I thought it was the right time to have a new challenge in a new environment - just a change to something new and challenge myself.

‘Regardless of who I was playing for next season, there’s still a step up to be made into the Wessex Prem.

‘I think Baffins, they’ve got a very good squad of players, again, similar to what we had last year (at US Portsmouth).

‘It’s quite a young group, so I thought that would give me the best chance of properly enjoying my football next season - that’s why I made that move.

‘I had both of those chats as well (about staying at USP or joining Moneyfields). I spoke to everyone involved, obviously US and Moneys were a bit earlier than when I spoke to Baffins.

‘Through the whole thing I was transparent with everyone who I was talking to and letting everyone know where my head was at.

‘With US I’ve been there over the past three years and I was there in youth football as well - we had a squad who won promotion.

‘It was a difficult one not to stay around but I trust Jeffes (Tom) and Gricey (Tom) will get a good group of lads together and they’ll give it a good go next season.'

No matter what Sargeant goes onto to achieve in his football career, he conceded it'll take something special to top USP's run to the FA Vase semi-final.

For that reason, the Milton-based midfielder - who scored his only goal of the season in the quarter-final win against Flackwell Heath - admitted it was a tough call to leave the Victory Stadium and a club he'll always have fond memories of.

Sargeant said: 'When you look at USP as a club, obviously it’s got great facilities down at HMS Temeraire, but in terms of attracting players they always had difficulty of getting a massive group of players in.

‘Obviously they have the restrictions they have, so for Glenn (Turnbull) to bring in the staff set up and the players, it was such a good group of lads as well.

‘To go on and challenge back-to-back for two seasons to get to the top of Division One.

‘With Covid it affected it a little bit, but we didn’t let that get in the way, we carried on the next season (2020/21) and the Vase run was amazing.

'You normally play in the first round qualifying of that and get knocked out. Obviously the semi-final was the worst feeling you could have in football, but you can only look back now and it’s going to be hard to ever top that in football.

‘You can look back, definitely, and the two to three years have been a success and we went from strength to strength each year.'