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History

History

HAVANT & WATERLOOVILLE - The Hawks Take Flight

Local football can be traced as far back as 1883 in the Borough of Havant, when Havant FC was formed, playing in the Portsmouth Football League.  In the 1950’s Bobby Tambling made the large jump from playing for Havant FC (youth team) to join Chelsea, followed by International recognition with England.  On retirement Bobby returned to the Havant area opening a local sports shop. In 1969 Havant FC merged with local side Leigh Park United winning the Portsmouth Football League at their first attempt.

This witnessed a boom time in the Club’s history as they joined the 4th Division of the Hampshire League.  Between 1970-1977 the team progressed through to the 1st Division of the Hampshire League. This meant their home ground at Front Lawn would be unsuitable if the Club was to progress any further.  The current home of Westleigh Park was acquired in 1980 and after two years of hard work and considerable cost opened in August 1982. The new club was rebranded Havant Town FC.

1986 saw Havant Town FC as founder members of the Wessex League. They finished runners up on three occasions before finally winning the title and moving into the Southern League in 1991.

Meanwhile Waterlooville Football Club, who were established in 1905, had become firm fixtures in the Southern League since 1971. They too had slowly progressed from humble beginnings moving through Waterlooville District, Portsmouth and Hampshire League Divisions.

With the formation of the National Conference, the Southern League re-organised themselves.  In 1981 the side from Jubilee Park nearly won the Championship but narrowly failed despite going 31 matches without defeat.  Waterlooville then spent a lot of years proving too good for the Southern League but not quite up to the grade of the Premier one.  1993 witnessed an 11th place finish in the Premier, their highest ever placing. 

Relegation and rising costs meant that the Club struggled to remain competitive and the talk of a merger with their fierce rivals was first mooted.  Havant Town FC had their own problems as well.  In 1997  Club Manager Tony Mount had left unexpectedly, taking the core of his talented squad with him.  June 1998 saw the two rivals join forces.  Jubilee Park was sold and the newly renamed Havant & Waterlooville FC was created.

 A NEW ERA BEGINS

On the 22nd August 1998, the new look team beat Chelmsford City 2-0 to begin a new era in the Club’s history. The team duly won the Southern League Southern Division, earning promotion to the Premier Division at their first attempt.  With success came more financial backing and £500K was spent to bring the ground up to Conference standard.  The Club had now improved both their Stadium and fan-base as the local community flocked to see their local heroes in action. 

In 2004 the Club were part of the new restructuring of the Conference South. They have remained in the Division ever since.

Season 2006-2007 witnessed the highest placing for the Club, earning a play-off spot.  A hard fought Semi-final against Braintree Town ended with the Hawks remaining in the Division. 

Season 2011-2012 witnessed excitement of a different kind as the Hawks escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, an extra time 93rd minute goal was badly needed to ensure that Conference football remained at Westleigh Park.

The last 16 years have seen the Club consolidate as an established member of the Blue Square South. With the game of football changing in the past few years, mainly due to financial matters being tightened up at all levels, the business side of all Clubs has become paramount. Fortunately the Club has been very prudent in this area and any money that has been made has been carefully re-invested in the Club as a whole; not just on the playing staff.

The Club can now boast a public house, The Westleigh, situated next to the ground. The stadium still retains its Conference 'A' Standard and is often viewed jealously by visiting directors. The Club is working towards making the Club fully self funding with long-term security the ultimate aim.

The philosphopy of the playing squad has changed over the past couple of seasons. Younger talent was sought out, backed up by some quality experienced Older heads to help establish growth of the squad year on year. 2005-2006 saw the Club Launch its Academy in conjunction with South Downs College. 

It is the Clubs impressive Cup exploits that has really captured both local and National attention as we have earned the un-official title of ‘Cup Specialists’.

The Bradbury Era:

Since Lee Bradbury's appointment as manager, the Hawks have been on a rollercoaster journey with both highs and lows culminating in the Hawks' promotion to The National League in 2018. 

Bradbury's first full season in charge of the club saw the Hawks reach the semi-finals of The FA Trophy for only the second time in the club's history before being beaten by local rivals Gosport Borough to be denied a place in the Wembley showpiece. 

However, a run of succesive postponments meant the side had to play 13 matches in 43 days and such an accumilation of matches seemed to be the undoing of the sides hopes of making the Skrill South play-offs with a late Dover penalty seeing them sneak into the final spot and then winning promotion to the Vanarama Conference. 

Following on from those disappointments, the Hawks looked to go from strength to strength. Havant reached the first round of The FA Cup for the first time since 2010 where they entertained Preston North End at Westleigh Park, a game which would be shown live on BT Sport in the UK and to viewers all around the globe. Unfortunately two red cards didn't help our cause as the three time winners ran out 3-0 victors. 

Bouncing back from that disappointment, the Hawks got themselves in the play-offs that season, a feat which illuded them the season before. The task in the semi-finals was a tie against Boreham Wood over two legs. The Wood ran out 2-0 winners at Westleigh Park, before a 2-2 draw at Meadow Park would be enough to see them win 4-2 on aggregate before winning the play-off final. 

The 2015/16 season saw Havant have the tag of favourites to gain promotion to the promised land that was The National League. And despite decent runs in both The FA Cup and FA Trophy, a season of despair was on the cards at Westleigh Park. The Hawks were left in a situation where they had to beat Weston Super Mare on the final day to secure their status in the sixth tier or be faced with relegation. However, a 1-1 draw was all that they could muster and the Hawks would drop into the Ryman League Premier Division. 

A first Hampshire Cup title did lighten the mood at Westleigh Park after a dramatic penalty shootout win over Winchester City at St. Mary's Stadium. 

Lee Bradbury stayed on at the Hawks and going into their first season in the Ryman Premier League decided to move to a more local based squad of players who would be hungry to wear the Havant badge. This meant the signings of the likes of Alfie Rutherford, Jason Prior, Rory Williams and Bradley Tarbuck alongside the star signing of Wes Fogden. 

Havant had a heavy favourites tag to get out of the division first time and fell at the first hurdle with a 3-1 defeat to Leiston on the opening day. 

However, the Hawks would hold their nerve to keep themselves locked in a tight title tussle with Bognor Regis Town which would go all the way. 

The two sides faced off on the penultimate game of the season at Westleigh Park with a Bognor win securing them the title, and a Hawks win putting them in pole position going into the final day of the season. A Wes Fogden goal 10 minutes into the second half gave the Hawks the 1-0 win needed to put the league title in their own hands going into the final day. 

Havant drew 0-0 with Kingstonian, but with Bognor being held by Met Police, the draw would be enough to see the Hawks back into The National League South at the first attempt. 

In the summer of 2018, the signing of Matt Tubbs was announced to bolster the squad heading into its first season back in The National League South. 

With the play-off system heading down to seventh place, hopes were high of a place in the end of season lottery. 

However after a solid start to the season, where the Hawks found themselves fourth in the table, a run of victories in the New Year saw Havant climb to the top of the league table and locked into a title battle with Dartford. 

Going into the final week of the season, the Hawks went into it behind Dartford by three points and on goal difference with a game in hand ahead of two final home fixtures. 

The first took place on Wednesday 25th April against East Thurrock United. Having gone into the break 1-1, the Hawks put in a truly heroic second half display to win 6-1 and put them top of the table by 3 goals on goal difference going into the final day of the season. 

The Hawks took on Concord Rangers at Westleigh Park whilst Bognor hosted Dartford. Havant went 2-0 up in the opening period and went into half-time confident of winning the title. 

However, two goals from Concord twinned with Dartford's win at Nyewood Lane meant that the Hawks looked as if they had missed out on a golden opportunity to play National League Football. 

But in the 89th minute up stepped Jason Prior to score and send Westleigh Park into raptures as Havant and Waterlooville won The National League South, and with it a place in Non-League Football's top tier for the first time. 

The season also saw the Hawks win an unprescedented treble after winning both the Hampshire and Portsmouth Senior Cups. 

 

Previous Season Stats

Season Played Won  Drew  Lost  GF  GA  PTS Average Attendence
1998 - 1999  42  29   07  06  85   32 94   359 
1999 - 2000  42    13    13  16  63    68  52  437
2000 - 2001  42    18     09   15  66    54  63  401
2001 - 2002  42    22    09   11  74  50 75     552
2002 - 2003  42   15    15   12   67    64  60   431
2003 - 2004  42   15    10   17  59   70  55            466
2004 - 2005  42   16    07   19   64    69  55   434
2005 - 2006  42   21    10  11  64    48  70   503
2006 - 2007  42   20    13     09    75     46   73   554
2007 - 2008  42   19      10     13    59     63   67     743 
2008 - 2009  42   11     15     16     59      58   48   716
2009 - 2010  42   19     14      09     65      44   71  891
2010 - 2011  42   16   10   16    56      51    58    656
2011 - 2012  42   11     11     20    64      75   44   722
2012 - 2013  42   14     16     18     68      60    58    632
2013 - 2014 42   19     12    11    57     43   69   563
2014 - 2015 40 21 7 12 61 41 70  
2015 - 2016 42 12 11 19 52 75 47
2016-2017 46 28 10 8 88 43 94
2017-2018 42 25 11 6 70 30 86 842
2018-2019 46 9 13 24 62 84 40 1,276

 

HAWK'S Managers

Season Manager
1998 - 2000 Billy Gilbert
2000 - 2004 Mick Jenkins/Liam Daish
 2004 Shaun Gale (Caretaker)
2004 - 2007 Ian Baird
2007 - 2012 Shaun Gale
2012 Adi Aymes/Steve Johnson (Caretakers)
2012 - 2013 Stuart Ritchie
2012 - 2013 Adi Aymes (Caretaker)
 2012-2019 Lee Bradbury
2019 Shaun Gale (Caretaker)
2019-Present Paul Doswell
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The Westleigh

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