New boss keen to seize chance

New Hastings United manager Dom Di Paola is keen to seize his chance at Ryman League level
New Hastings United manager Dom Di Paola is keen to seize his chance at Ryman League level

New Hastings United manager Dom Di Paola says the pitch and support were what sold the football club to him.

Di Paola was confirmed as United’s fourth permanent manager in 14 months last weekend and will take charge for the first time at home to Guernsey tomorrow (Saturday).

He said: “That pitch and the support are the two things that sold it for me. It’s a huge job, big challenge and there’s lots of work, but I’m up for it. I want to get the club back on track playing attractive football.”

The 33-year-old left his post in charge of reigning Macron Store Sussex County Football League champions East Preston to move to The Pilot Field.

And although he’s been itching for an opportunity to pit his wits at Ryman League level, Di Paola admits he was surprised to land the United job.

“I was surprised that we were given the opportunity and grateful for the bit of faith that we’ve been shown,” continued Di Paola, whose backroom team of assistant Jan Miller, and coaches Ian Browne and Adam Westwood have come with him. “The hardest thing we’ve always found is to get a chance really.

“I’ve been very desperate to get into the Ryman League. It’s something I’ve been preparing for for a couple of years. I’ve been doing quite a lot of research at that level.

“I’ve never gone into a job midway through the season and going to a much, much bigger club is an attractive proposition for me personally.

“This is quite different from everything we’ve done before. Normally we’ve gone over and above the club’s potential; this one is the other way round. There’s lots of possibilities to do better.”

Di Paola arrives with United - who were hoping to mount a strong title challenge at the start of the season - lying a lowly 21st in Ryman Division One South with just 12 points from 13 matches.

“The potential is to do good things and to progress up the leagues, but whether that can happen is a different matter,” Di Paola went on. “We’re in a relegation fight and until we get out of that, there’s not much point getting excited about the potential of the club.

“It’s a bit of a rebuilding process and at the moment I’m not really interested in play-offs or anything like that; I just want to turn the corner.”