With the news of SSDC completing their purchase of Huish Park emerging on Friday, it feels like a lifetime ago that Chris Hargreaves was announced as the new manager of Yeovil Town FC.
While he was not a favourite for the job in the eyes of supporters (58% of Gloverscast readers wanted Jamie McAllister) he was a name that was on the rumour mill in the middle of April.
Having left his role as Bristol Rovers Academy manager in February to pursue first team manager opportunities, it’s been reported that he was unsuccessful in applications for Oxford City and Woking before getting the Glovers job.
As he lines up his coaching team (a former Glover who’s “only gone and done it” is among the rumoured names), there’s a chance of some post-season freshness at Huish Park – in the dugout at least.
Hargreaves experience since ‘taking Torquay out of the football league’ (as the negative narrative is) has been largely focussed on youth football and the academy system at Exeter City, Bournemouth and Bristol Rovers. His history at this south/southwest triumvirate, within a commutable distance from Huish Park, is probably an indication of the ‘project youth’ strategy Yeovil be taking this season. And who can argue with it?
In his first interview with YTFC.net, Hargreaves said: “Youth development is vital. I said to the players that want to stay at the club, I want to improve them as all coaches and managers do. We want to help them go and play as high as they can. It’s something that is very important to me, they have to produce for the club but we hope to be able to help them along their footballing journey. We have to be as sustainable as possible, so we need to develop our younger players and if the rewards are right for the club and for the player, then brilliant. That has to be a major part of it because producing players is a big part of what a club is about.”
Despite the club’s ‘pretty healthy’ financial position mooted by the chairman, and the recent injection of circa £2.8m, (who’s laughing at the back?) with ever-dropping gates at Huish Park, it’s reasonable to expect the budget will not see signings like Darren Sarll’s first season.
If we’re in the market for young, hungry players who’ve been let go from Rovers, Exeter and Bournemouth we should try and get ourselves to the top of the pile. Hargreaves’ connection with these clubs will hopefully provide Yeovil with a good pipeline of loans and an opportunity to sign some free agents.
As we await our released and retained list, we’ve secured the most important player in Josh Staunton. His leadership within the squad is obvious and as the standard bearer of the dressing room, he will set the bar for those remaining and those joining. If the core of Staunton, Grant Smith, Morgan Williams, Max Hunt, Tom Knowles and Matty Worthington stay, that’s a good base to build a squad from.
While Hargreaves wasn’t everyone’s first choice, I was impressed with his first interview with the media. He spoke positively about the club and genuinely seems excited at the opportunity to manager our club. Despite the news which broke on Friday afternoon, I’m cautiously optimistic about the freshening up at Huish Park under his leadership.