Paulsgrove boss Grant: We can’t live with Hampshire Premier League clubs who can attract star quality

Moulay Ousman in action for Paulsgrove against Bush Hill
Moulay Ousman in action for Paulsgrove against Bush Hill
Share this article

PAULSGROVE boss Wayne Grant knows his club cannot compete with those possessing bigger financial backing in the Hampshire Premier League.

Grant admits his players do not get paid, which makes life difficult in terms of challenging the top two.

Both Infinity and Bush Hill possess a striker who is obviously far too good for the level they are playing at - Jamie White and Mark Barker respectively. Over 110 goals between them last season tells you that.

Grant got a first hand look at Barker’s talents at the weekend when the former Wessex League regular struck twice in Bush’s 3-1 win at Marsden Road.

That took his tally to nine in eight games this term, to go with the 62 goals in 32 appearances - four of them as a sub - which helped propel the Southampton-based club to the HPL and Hampshire Intermediate Cup double in 2018/19.

Barker struck seven times in a 9-0 HPL League Cup slaying of Hayling last season, while he also plundered four-goal hauls against Fleet Spurs Reserves, Headley United, Tadley Reserves and Fleetlands in the Intermediate Cup.

‘My players just play for the love of the game - they give up their Saturday afternoons to play when they could be working,’ said Grant.

‘That’s why we have got such a good spirit at Paulsgrove.

‘Because we don’t pay our players, we can’t keep hold of our better ones.

‘That’s why Josh Benfield - who in my opinion is a better player than Barker - went to Fareham and is now interesting Bognor. Josh was the best striker in the league.

‘We can’t match the clubs who have got financial backing.’

On the field, Grant believes Paulsgrove more than matched Bush - and deserved more than a 3-1 loss.

‘I’m bringing my strikers in for extra shooting practice,’ he said. ‘On the chances created, we should have won - and we missed another penalty.

‘Jimmy Hird missed a couple that you’d normally put your house on him scoring.’

Grant revealed that the referee confessed he was wrong in awarding Bush the free-kick from which a melee erupted leading to red cards for home pair Rob White and keeper Luke Shields as well as two-goal Barker.

‘The referee said he’d made a mistake, but that mistake led to three red cards. It wasn’t a dirty game at all - for a Portsmouth v Southampton game it was actually quite mild.

‘I’ll speak to Eugene (McManus, Bush boss) to see if he wants to appeal their red card. If he does, we might go down the same route, I don’t know.’