Pre-season is pre-season - now Hastings United are hungry for the real action
Excitement is mounting at The Pilot Field as Hastings United’s teams get ready to launch new bids for glory.
It’s just eight days until Chris Agutter’s side kick off another Isthmian League south-east division campaign – with high hopes this will finally be the one that ends in promotion to the premier.
At the same time the women’s side are in buoyant mood and enjoying pre-season as they gear up for life in the London and South East League following their title win and promotion from the top flight of the Sussex Women’s League.
With the club’s academy and junior teams growing fast and setting out on new campaigns soon, it’s a time of great excitement and anticipation for all concerned at the club.
CEO and chairman Billy Wood said: “Pre-season is pre-season – it serves a purpose but I think we’re a club whose teams come into their own when three points are up for grabs.
“We’re all raring to go. The men’s and women’s squads are in good shape and we just want to get on with the league season.”
Wood is very happy with this summer’s player recruitment and said it was quite a prospect to have a full season ahead in which – all going to plan – fans could pack out the Pilot Field for every game.
Wood said last week’s game against Spurs under-23s – which was stalwart Sam Adams’ testimonial – helped get everyone in the mood for the ‘season proper’ to get started.
He said: “I loved seeing the place busy again, it’s been too long.
“To have so many people say how fantastic the atmosphere around the club is right now fills me with so much joy.
“The night was about one man, our captain, and I sincerely hope we did the man proud.”
After facing Spurs, Agutter’s team lost 3-0 to higher-division Carshalton Athletic in their latest friendly last Saturday but so far in pre-season the manager has been unworried by results – good or not so good – and has been pleased with performance levels. He has given plenty of minutes to younger players who will be pushing the regulars for first XI starting spots.
Their Isthmian campaign begins tomorrow week at home to Herne Bay, while the first of 14 Sussex derbies crops up when Whitehawk visit on bank holiday Monday, August 30.