A vastly different Gosport Borough team played with spirit and determination after a difficult week for the club and Alex Pike admitted life had been tough.
Gosport manager Pike reflected on what he described as “an immensely challenging and tiring week” after his team drew with 0-0 Oxford City, in a game that was overshadowed by the club’s off-field problems.
In his post-match press conference, Pike gave a candid and forthright interview in which he described just how hard the past few days have been for him and the Club. He then revealed that new investors could be arriving at the Aerial Direct Stadium “within days” giving Boro’ fans a real sense of hope for the future.
Pike was forced to field a drastically changed side after a tumultuous week in which the club’s financial problems became public knowledge and he admitted the stress had got to him.
“I think people were shocked to find they were getting e-mails from me in the middle of the night where I wasn’t sleeping,” he said.
“Then I was back on the phone at 7.30am talking to people,” he continued.
The beleaguered Gosport boss also explained further how the recent problems had affected him and his wife Jane – then offered hope for the club’s future.
“It has been tiring not only for me, but also for my wife (the club’s treasurer) who works incredibly hard. I’ve had to sit and watch her cry and that’s not easy to take.”
“Out of adversity comes positivity and although I can’t say too much at this stage, two people have shown interest in buying the club and investing in Gosport Borough. Hopefully by next week we’ll be able to look back on this and have a laugh,” he finished.
Pike also re-assured the club’s supporters that the club’s problems would only be temporary and that he would not be walking away anytime soon.
“There are a lot of incredibly hard working, loyal people here and they will never let this club sink. It’s taken me ten years to get this club where it is now and I won’t let it go backwards. It will carry on going forwards.
“I’m a fighter. My players are fighting and we’re here to fight. We won’t turn our backs on our supporters,” he pledged.
“These lads are capable of finishing in the top five, there’s still 11 games to go and we need to put a run together and the lads will treat each one as a cup final,” he concluded.
Pike still managed to field a strong side against Oxford, as off the pitch matters cast a long and dark shadow over the club. Mike Carter began a two match suspension, Andy Robinson was missing as were the injured trio of Brett Poate, Dan Wooden and Lee Wort. This meant starting berths for Ben Harding, Adam Brice, Adam Wilde and the returning TJ Cuthbertson who missed Tuesday’s defeat against Dartford with injury.
In an interesting formation re-shuffle, Rory Williams partnered Bennett up front, whilst Brice slotted into his vacant left back position. Luke King pushed up into midfield and once again produced a man-of-the-match performance.
The subs bench had a youthful feel about it with Perry Ryan being joined by four players from Gosport’s Academy and Development squad but Pike feels that should be seen as a positive.
“It may seem youthful but at some point a Manager has got to show trust and put those players out there. Connor May came on at the end was the first Academy player to feature for the first team. David Jerrard has done well on loan and deserves a go and the other lads are products of our Under 21s.
“If I didn’t have those squads then I wouldn’t have had much of a bench today. We’re looking at all the best Under 21 players in the Gosport area and it’s important that our Development Squad thrives. Any players of that age who want to play in the National South will always have that opportunity,” he concluded.