Hampton & Richmond Borough manager Alan Dowson was a relieved man as he finally clinched the signing of his number one target, goalkeeper Sam Howes.
Howes starred for the Beavers last season while on loan from West Ham United, but in the close season he transferred to Watford, to join their under-23 squad.
A further loan at National League level has been a strong possibility since the switch, but Hampton faced competition from other clubs, alerted to Howes` ability after a string of fine performances.
Dowson has kept in regular touch with the player, his agent Paul Goddard (a former team-mate at Millwall) and with Watford and was able to confirm the signing today after a number of last-minute delays.
Howes, 19, will be in goal for Hampton at Dulwich Hamlet on Friday night in a friendly and is scheduled to start the Middlesex Senior Cup final against Wealdstone at The Beveree next Tuesday.
He was buzzing as he posed for pictures with Dowson at The Beveree. He’s excited about his move to Watford and will soon move into his own flat close to the training ground.
Equally, he can’t wait to meet up with many of his former mates from last season after bonding with them in the Beavers’ great run towards the play-offs.
There was an exchange of excited phone calls with some of the boys once the news was confirmed.
Dowson said: “I’ve been on tenterhooks for a couple of weeks now. I’d told the chairman he was my number one target and I was confident of getting him, but it’s been a tense few days. He will be brilliant for us, and I’m already convinced he’s the best in the division.”
The loan is initially until January, but Dowson sees no reason why that won’t be extended until the end of the season.