Head coach resigns after Havant’s relegation pain

Merijn van Willigen
Merijn van Willigen
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Merijn van Willigen has resigned from his position as Havant head coach after a disastrous season which saw them relegated from the National League for the first time in 26 years.

A terrible run of results saw Havant go 12 games without a win as they went down. That led to Van Willigen’s decision to quit, after five years in charge.

He feels the team needs to a take a fresh direction.

‘I have thought about it for the last three months and I felt we were better than the way we played,’ said Van Willigen.

‘So after much soul searching I decided to step down.

‘I have had five seasons in charge of the club.

‘As coach I have to take the blame for the poor way that we ended the season.

‘Maybe the club needs a fresh approach.’

Van Willigen will be replaced by current second-team coach Ady Adams, who has enjoyed a fair amount of success.

Last season he led the second team to victory in the Hampshire/Surrey Regional League division one.

And van Willigen hopes he will be the perfect person to revive the glory days at Barncroft Way.

Van Willigen added: ‘Ady is a good coach, he has coached the second team for three seasons to great success.

‘So all the players know who he is, hopefully he can give the club a boost.’

Van Willigen leaves the south coast to take over at Reading Ladies.

He hopes to lead them back to the Premier League.

However, he retains hope that he can return to Havant some day.

‘It would be nice if at some point I could go back and play a few games for some of the teams lower down the club as I still really enjoy playing from time-to-time,’ said Adams.

New coach Adams is looking for an instant return to the National League and is determined to bring a winning mentality to Havant.

He said: ‘I was delighted to be asked to take over from Merijn.

‘I believe that we will be able to get back into the National League at the first attempt. I don’t like losing.

‘We are looking to bring in some players and maybe a few of the players who won with the second team last season can step up.’

Adams also worked as assistant to van Willigen and paid tribute to the work the former boss put in over the past five years.

He said: ‘I think he has done a great job at the club, turning regional players into National League players and was very unlucky to be relegated. I wish him all the best for the future.’