Hemel Hempstead Town’s new manager Sammy Moore has spoken on the new for the club to be “freshened up” to move the club forward .
Speaking to the Gazette’s match-day reporter Allan Mitchell, the former Concord Rangers boss addressed the elephant in the room of departing former Hemel stalwarts and also talked about his passion for winning and getting the club to move rapidly up the National League South table.
It’s certainly been an eventual off-season at Vauxhall Road with a total of 12 new players brought in on Moore’s watch, while the club’s all-time leading scorer and former skipper Jordan Parkes, keeper Laurie Walker and Kyle Connolly have all exited the club.
Joining the ranks are last season’s National League South top scorer Alex Wall, highly sought-after 22-year-old England C defender Mitchell Dickenson, experienced midfielder and former MK Dons player Luke Howell, young defender Lucas Perry, 28-year-old midfielder Jake Howells, 26-year-old defender Connor Essam, 23-year-old forwards Sam Ashford and Liam Nash, 26-year-old full back Tosan Popo, 30-year-old defender Craig Braham-Barrett, 31-year-old keeper Sam Beasant and 22-year-old midfielder/forward Isaac Galliford.
Moore and player/assistant manager Jack Midson were very upfront with Mitchell about having to make difficult decisions and they both accepted that some of the decisions would not be popular.
But they also pointed out that the club finished in a lowly 16th place last season, just nine points off the relegation positions and that wasn’t good enough.
“Things needed to be freshened up to us move forward into a position where we could challenge for promotion,” Moore said.
As for Parkes, the club confirmed that the ex-captain was offered a new deal but the player rejected the contract as he felt it was clear he was not going to be part of the new manager’s plans.
This prompted a lot of supporters to air their views and the chairman and new managers were keen to point out that he was wanted at the club and had not, for want of a better word, been “sacked”.
Both Moore and Midson said they liked Parkes and would have liked to have him as part of the squad but that the player had made his mind up before they could have any more conversations.
They described the situation as disappointing, but they wished him well in his career and said they were sure he would continue to be a success at any new club, which a few days’ later turned out to be Billericay Town.
Ironically, the same side had made a bid for him last year, one that was accepted by previous Tudors’ manager Dean Brennan and one he was keen to push through.
Parkes was very much against the move at the time and remained at Vauxhall Road.
Moore and Midson said they expected a backlash and in some ways were quite impressed that so many fans had shown their displeasure as it showed them that the supporters were so passionate about their club.
It has made them even more determined to get the club to a place where they feel it should be.
Moore said: “We have been brought into Hemel to get the club in a position where we can get promotion.
“I have broad shoulders and can take the criticism, because at the end of the day the buck stops with me.
“I will get this team into the playoffs and if that means I have to make changes, then that is what I will do.”
Moore, who guided Concord to a playoff place last year in his first season at the Canvey Island outfit before FA chiefs scuppered their post-season hopes due to ground-size rules, went on to say with some passion that he is a winner, he hates losing and will be installing that in the players.
He is also a big believer in getting the squad to mix with supporters after the games. No-one will leave until he says they can leave and “it’s very important to build a bond between supporters and players,” he stressed.
He is also keen on having a dialogue with supporters and there will be a fans’ forum next month, along with an open training session that all will be invited to on Tuesday, July 9, at 7.30pm.
Midson added that Hemel will have a side to be proud of this season. He still plans to play, although admits he will have to fight for a place due to the strength of the new squad’s strikers. Although aged 35, Midson netted 20 goals for Concord last term.