Tucker’s aiming high with the Lions

Jon Tucker is the new boss at Pagham / Picture by Liz Pearce

Jon Tucker is the new boss at Pagham / Picture by Liz Pearce

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NEW Pagham boss Jon Tucker can’t wait for his first taste of top-flight county league management.

Tucker surprised some by moving to Nyetimber Lane from Wick and Barnham at the end of last season after leading his previous club to promotion to division one.

He said he had enjoyed his three years in charge at Wick but now felt ready to boss a better-estbalished top-flight club where he said he had already been made very welcome.

Tucker wants Pagham to finish in the top six – and is even dreaming of the title – and go on a good FA Cup or FA Vase run in his first year.

Previous Linos manager Gary Block is moving into a football development role because he will not have as much time to devote to the club, while Dave Berkowitz and Ryan Pharo are staying on as assistant manager and first-team coach.

Tucker fears losing one of last season’s Lions squad members to a higher level but believes most of the players will be back for another glory bid and he hopes to bring in five or six new faces to strengthen his options.

Any manager will tell you at the start of a season they want to win their league and I’m no different. But we must be realistic.

Jon Tucker

The former Pagham and Bognor player had a short spell as Rustington manager before taking over at Wick and said he wanted to go as far as he could in management.

“Pagham had a fantastic season and, having played there and knowing what a fantastic club it is, the opportunity to go there and manage was too good to turn down.

“They have fantastic support, a pitch that’s second to none and great facilities. There’s a good player link with Bognor and it’s an exciting time for the club.

“I had a chance to go there a year ago but felt it could be too soon, but I’m ambitious and now want to test myself at a club of that size.”

Pagham finished third under Block last season – impressive given they started the campaign with a reduced budget. They are still unable to give contracts to players but Tucker doesn’t think that will adversely affect his attempts to mould a strong squad.

“We’re possibly losing one player – I wouldn’t want to say who – and may lose a few more. Until we come back for pre-season we won’t know for sure. But I think most of the squad will stay and I am getting calls from players at other clubs keen to join us.

“I’ve spoken to Jamie Howell and Jack Pearce at Bognor and the link between the two clubs is strong and will be beneficial.

“Any manager will tell you at the start of a season they want to win their league and I’m no different. But we must be realistic. We’ll want to finish in the top six but the committee have been very supportive and are not putting pressure on in terms of saying what we must achieve.

“If we can be well up in the league and get a little run going in the FA Cup or FA Vase, we’ll be happy. A cup run would bring funds into the club and give the supporters something to think about, so that’s certainly one of our aims.”

STEVE BONE

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