Welcome to Sholing, Paul Doswell

"Firstly, thank you to everyone at Sholing for their warm welcome to the club."

First game in charge : "We have a lot to cover, but we will start with last night's outstanding away performance to beat Dorchester Town.  I was over the moon with the level of performance after only having an hour prior to last night to talk to the squad.  The players took on what we said and responded really well. 

We only had 13 fully fit players and were further weakened when we heard in the afternoon from Wayne Robinson that he had decided to join Salisbury.  That was really disappointing as we wanted Wayne to stay with us.

We had two young players making their first start and both were excellent.  Keane Anderson was recommended to me by our new first team coach, Ross White, who knew him well from his time at Aldershot Town's academy.  I know Karlos Gregory's agent and after talking to AFC Bournemouth, it was clear they wanted to see Karlos tested in adult football after out-growing U18 football, despite still being only 17 years old.  So we were happy to bring him on board and had no hesitations throwing both lads in and they equipped themselves very well.

This is the best dressing room I've ever walked into for the first time. These lads will dig in for each other and it's a tribute to Dave Diaper that he's created such a superb environment.

I want to personally thank our supporters for coming out in horrible weather for an away midweek game and making brilliant noise and backing the lads in such a positive manner.  Sounded so loud from the dugout and I know the players appreciated it.  Gives us all a lift and I love that kind of support and I hope to see & hear more of it at away games and at the Imperial Homes Stadium.  The more we get in the stands, singing and banging a drum, the better.

Was great to start with a win and I think Dorchester are in a false position in the league and with Tommy Killick & Glenn Howes, they will soon start climbing up the table. I think we will reflect at the end of the season on winning more than a useful 3 points down there."


New Management Team : "From the first conversations I had with the club, it was crucial to me that Marc Diaper continued as assistant manager.  I have huge respect for Marc, who has great knowledge and a smart mind."

Ross White, First Team Coach : "I have been hearing nothing but good things about Ross from football people I trust for some while now.  Ross has been with QPR and helped set up the Aldershot Town academy.  He's currently Sutton United's U18 manager, a role he will continue with.  With Uefa A qualifications and being part of the England elite coaching programme, Ross is headed for big things in football and I'm excited to work with him."

Darren Welch, Kit Man : "I knew "Edge" from my time at Havant, where he was kit man for over 600 games.  He brings that experience and a natural enthusiasm to Sholing.  I never underestimate the importance of having good backroom people around you and I'm also happy that Terry Miller is staying with us."

"Unfortunately in football, some tough decisions sometimes have to be made.  I heard good things about Mark Gamble as a coach, but had never worked with him previously and wanted to have my own coach (Ross), so it was a tough decision to let Gambo go. The club thanks him and wishes him all the best."

"We have a great set-up already with Charlie Kirby as head physio and he will be joined by Holly.  I've also been impressed by the Performance Analysis team of Alex, Jack, Gracjan & Jordan.  These are important areas for all clubs at this level these days."


Dave Diaper : "I now know how David Moyes must have felt when he replaced Sir Alex Ferguson!"

"What Diapes has achieved is unbelievable, it's a very hard act to follow.  Whoever took over had big shoes to fill and I think it would have been too daunting for a younger manager, but as this will be my last job as a manager, I'm looking forward to spending many years in charge, as I did at Eastleigh & Sutton Utd."

"I have known Diapes for years, we played together in the past and I managed both him and Marc in a Sunday team.  You only have to look at the tributes to Dave to know how much affection & respect there is towards him in football.  It's vital to have him, Marc & Claire involved at the club. "

"Gerry Roberts is another who I used to play with and against back in the day, he's a top bloke.  I've only got to know Paul Knott recently, but he's impressed me with his ambition and drive and we are formally making him Director of Football at Sholing" 

"With the rush to get ready for yesterday's game and give Dave the limelight he so deserved last weekend, I've not been able to meet everyone at the club as yet, but aim to put that right asap."

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Short term aims : "We've had a difficult start to the season, not helped by many injuries.  This is what I would call a proper league, with some big ambitious clubs and our goal is to be competitive this season and then push on.  We have a good squad with some amazing commitment shown by so many players to stay with the Boatmen for years. I don't think there's another club anywhere in the country that has so many players with over 400 appearances and we have Marv approaching 800 and Byron 700 !"

Longer term aims : "I want to build upon the excellent work off the pitch by the directors & volunteers who have improved the ground and club infrastructure beyond recognition in recent years.  It's vital to increase our revenue, attract more supporters to matches and hold more events.  I want to see the ground busy and as a focal point of the community.  We will announce ground improvements when everything is in place to do so."

Final Words : "I am a Sholing boy, born & bred and no other club would have tempted me back to managment.  I went to Weston Park School and grew up not far from the ground.  When Diapes first contacted me in the summer, I was very interested, but it's only been in the last month that after a lot of work by both sides, we have put together a plan to be progressive on and off the pitch."

"I want to help make Sholing, the best little non-league club in the country and I hope you will all continue to back us. Spread the word to your friends, family and the Eastern Southampton community, that Sholing FC are something to be proud and a part of."

Up The Boatmen !

Paul Doswell - 25/10/23