Special success shows Pope made right call
TWO years ago Hawks chairman Derek Pope had just seen his club relegated for the first time in their history.
A 1-1 home draw against Weston-super Mare had sent the Hawks down to the Ryman League
Pope was disappointed, angry and frustrated.
Many fans were calling for changes but he took the decision to back manager Lee Bradbury and the coaching team.
Fast forward to last Saturday and it was a jubilant Pope celebrating on the pitch after the Hawks had won promotion to the National League.
The chairman now feels totally vindicated for his brave decision to stick with Bradbury.
He said: ‘This is something special.
‘We kept faith with the management and look what has happened.
‘It proves you can do these things if you stick with people and don’t throw them out when times are tough.
‘It is not just me but the whole board had the belief he was the man to do the job
‘I have worked with a lot of managers over the years and Lee knows more about football than most.
‘It is fabulous for the whole area to get a club up into the National League.
‘I am just looking forward to it.
‘This is just something we have been working towards for years.
‘It has always been my dream wanting this to happen for this football club.’
Pope is confident the Hawks will be able to make their presence felt at the higher level next season.
He added: ‘I believe we can go and see what the next level is all about and hold our own.
‘It has taken a tremendous amount of hard work and I am really pleased for everyone involved.
‘I am especially pleased for Lee and his team who have been excellent.
‘People don’t know what he does for the club.
‘He puts hours and hours into trying to make sure he gets it right.’
Pope admits he endured a roller coaster of an afternoon before Jason Prior’s late goal won them the game.
He felt the Hawks were going to let the prize slip.
‘I was just pacing around thinking we had blown it again,’ added the chairman.
‘When the goal went in it was unbelievable.’