After just one year in the Vanarama National League, Hawks return to the Vanarama National League South for the 2019-20 season. Following relegation, it has been all change at the Westleigh. It is now widely known that first team manager Lee Bradbury has left the club. It was perhaps surprising that Bradbury chose to take the job as manager of Eastbourne Borough FC. Borough had clung to their place in the Vanarama National League South by narrowly avoiding relegation in the final match of the 2018-19 season.
Following Hawks relegation from the Vanarama National League and Bradbury’s departure, the Club acted quickly to appoint Paul Doswell, Sutton United’s recent Manager, pictured below, on a three-year deal.
Manager: Paul Doswell
Doswell comes to the Westleigh with a wealth of experience in the Vanarama National League and National League South, having previously also managed Eastleigh FC.
During his lengthy spell as manager at Sutton United Doswell achieved two promotions with the Gander Green Lane outfit and established them in the Vanarama National League. In his second season at Sutton, Doswell had to work hard to keep them in the National League, but went on to lead the Club into an outstanding FA Cup run, beating English Football League Clubs AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United before exiting in the fifth round in a home tie at Gander Green Lane against Arsene Wenger's Arsenal.
After 11 years in charge of the south London club Doswell arrives at the Westleigh to take on a new challenge closer to his home in Winchester. He brings Ian Baird, his number two at Sutton United, with him to work in a similar role. Many Hawks fans will remember Baird from his period as Manager at the Westleigh between 2004 and 2007.
Doswell and Baird worked successfully together at Sutton United, before Doswell opted to take a break from management in 2018/19. Baird stayed at Gander Green Lane temporarily filling Doswell’s shoes before returning to the Westleigh to join Doswell for the Hawks 2019/20 campaign in the Vanarama National League South.
Shaun Gale announces his Westleigh Departure:
The experienced Shaun Gale has left the Football Club, perhaps clearing the way for him to join Lee Bradbury at Eastbourne Borough.
Shaun was expected to remain at the Westleigh as first team coach. However, at the end of May the Club announced that sadly Gale had decided to leave the football club nearly 19 years after joining the Hawks as a player in August 2000. Gale spent his two decades at the Club involved in a wide range of roles from player, manager, assistant manager and community manager.
Most fans however will have enjoyed the Hawks recent successive promotions as champions of their Leagues which took them into the Vanarama National League for the first time in the 2018/19 season.
Shaun Gale started his playing career with Pompey before spells at Barnet and Exeter City. In August 2000, he moved on a free transfer to Havant & Waterlooville, where he made over 100 appearances in his first two seasons.
In February 2004 when injuries ended Gale’s playing career and he took up a coaching role at the Westleigh under Manager Ian Baird. In October 2007 Hawks appointed Gale as manager when Baird departed to then Conference South rivals Eastleigh.
Many Hawks fans will most fondly remember Gale managing the side in Hawks historic FA Cup Fourth Round tie against Liverpool at Anfield in the 2007–08 season. Gale had led Hawks to an historic FA Cup run beating Bognor Regis, Fleet Town, Leighton Town, York City and Notts County, before causing a shock by defeating League One side Swansea City 4–2 at a packed Westleigh in a third-round replay. In the fourth round Hawks had a dream draw that saw them play Liverpool FC at a packed Anfield. The match was widely covered by the national sports media and Gale Hawks caused a sensation by twice leading the Reds before losing 5–2.
The 2011–12 season was disappointing for the football club. After dropping to second from bottom in the league following a defeat at Basingstoke Town, Gale was dismissed as Manager on 1 April 2012. Gale did, however, agree to remain at the Westleigh as part the Clubs management team, including the role of Community Manager.
Gale was Assistant Manager to Lee Bradbury throughout Bradbury’s reign as Hawks manager and played a key part in the management team which achieved back to back promotions to return the Hawks back into the Vanarama National League South in 2017 and the National League in 2018.
In the community, Shaun Gale has been a key part of the success of the Many Shades of Grey Walking Football Team which has become one of the biggest in the country.
Shaun Gale Awarded a Benefit in 2019
The Club hierarchy has wished Shaun and his family the very best for the future and thanked him for 19 years of dedicated service.
To mark Gales hard work and dedication through the highs and the tricky moments in the Hawks history, the Club will this year organise a benefit in his honour. To make all the arrangements the benefit will take place a little later in the year.
A Tribute from the Club Directors:
“Shaun Gale, a legend of Havant and Waterlooville Football Club, will forever be welcomed at the Westleigh.”