Howell leaves the Rocks: Fans react and name possible replacements

Jamie Howell / Picture by Tim Hale
Jamie Howell / Picture by Tim Hale

Rocks fans have been quick to react to manager Jamie Howell’s move to Eastbourne Borough - and plenty are admitting they were devastated.

Supporters have wished Howell well in his new role at a club who the Rocks will be playing in National League South.

They have also come out with some names of potential new bosses - and expressed the hope none of the Rocks’ promotion-winning squad will follow Howell to Priory Park.

Those mentioned as possible successors include Adam Hinshelwood, David Wright, Michael Birmingham and Miles Rutherford - though the Rocks have said they will not rush into appointing a new boss.

Dave Robinson, a leading figure on the Rocks’ supporters’ club, said he was very sorry to see the manager depart.

“I’m gutted – absolutely gutted. He’ll go with fans’ very best wishes but they will be disappointed.

“Rumour has it Eastbourne are spending plenty of money, but are they a bigger club than Bognor? They’ve not done much since they came back down to the National League South.”

Ian Guppy, also prominent in the supporters’ club, said on the fans’ messageboard: “Jamie and Dabba have got the club back to the level just before they were appointed and with the new academy set up for next season, we are in a much better place.

“With the college link and the academy, I think Dabba will be pivotal next season and if we can get a new first team manager in the future is very bright.

“Thank you Jamie, you’re a club legend and I wish you all the success in the world fulfilling your dream to manage full-time. Just don’t take six points off us next season.”

Ian added: “Possible replacements - Birmy - sentiment and stability; Adam Hinshelwood - to assist progression; Dave Wright - dark horse.”

Barry Anderson wrote: “A true Bognor legend - as player and manager - Jamie’s achievements in the latter role are all the more remarkable when you consider the position we were in when he and Dabba took over.

“He’ll be sorely missed and I for one wish him every success at Eastbourne Borough (except when they play the Rocks, of course).”

Barry asked two key questions: Who will manage the side next season? Are any members of the current Rocks squad likely to follow Jamie to Eastbourne? He added: “Big questions... and an interesting close season in prospect!”

Club stalwart Pete Helsby said: “I’m not surprised by the news. Jamie and Dabba took the club over at a very difficult time when we were in the Conference South.

“If you listened to his interview after the game (on Monday) there were hints there and the strongest was that he always wanted to get the club back to where he had started as coach. He and Dabba fulfilled that and now I think he wanted to try another challenge.

“He has certainly got that at Eastbourne who are looking to get back to former glories. Good luck Jamie except where we play you ... and leave our players alone!”

Nyewood Lane tannoy supremo Richard Essen said: “Good luck to Jamie and thanks for everything you have done for the club, I wish you all the best at Eastbourne, except when you play us.

“I think Rocks are looking for an ex-Rocks player to plug straight into the set-up to work with Dabba. Birmy and Miles Rutherford immediately spring to mind.”

Rocks fan Stephen Pay said on Twitter: “Wow, didn’t see this one coming.”

On the club’s message board, Moregeriatricfan said: “Absolutely gutted to hear the news. Jamie will be missed so much. He is a Rocks legend.”

Kittman added: “Gutted too, but heard some rumours on Saturday, but just hoped that’s all they were. Thanks for all you’ve done for us Jamie - absolute legend.”

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