JOHN Chand’s loyalty to Holbeach United was pushed to the limit last week – but he has moved to end any speculation about his future as manager.
Having guided to the Tigers to sixth place and the Lincs FA Senior Trophy in his second season at Carter’s Park, UCL Premier Division rivals Boston Town had offered him the chance to manage his hometown club.
But after a few days of soul-searching, Chand decided to turn down the advances of the Tattershall Road outfit and reaffirm his dedication to Holbeach for at least another season.
In an honest assessment, the Tigers supremo conceded he’d have wanted to raid the Carter’s Park squad to make a decent fist of turning around the Poachers’ flagging fortunes (should he have taken the job) – and that was something he just wasn’t prepared to do.
Chand also confirmed he was very tempted by Boston’s offer, but claimed jumping ship at this stage of his stint with Holbeach would have been a “slap in the face” to everyone at the club.
“I did meet with (chairman) Mick Vines and a few others from Boston and our talks were very positive,” said Chand, who lives and works in the town. “I’ll admit that I was leaning towards taking the job at one stage too.
“But when I looked at it, I knew the only way I could have turned them around would be to sign quite a few players from Holbeach.
“That would have left the club without a manager and a team – a bit like when Dick Creasey left years ago – which in my view would be a slap in the face to a club that has been very loyal and welcoming.
“The chairman, fans and people behind the scenes have been first class with me from day one and that’s the main reason why I want to stay.
“I’ve always maintained that I had a three-year plan for Holbeach – and that’s something I want to stick to.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for Boston Town though, it was great for me to be considered a target for them and I wish them well.”
Chand now turns his attention next season – and after recharging his batteries for a few weeks, he admits he can’t wait to get started.
All of last season’s squad, barring Spalding United bound midfielder Luke Kennedy have indicated that they want to stay at Carter’s Park next season.
That includes skipper Jamie Stevens, who was a target for Conference National side Macclesfield Town, and leading scorer Andrew Tidswell, who was rumoured to be interesting big-spending rivals Spalding.
Chand intends to step-up his dealings in the transfer market over the coming days, with Boston Town ace Ollie Pinner, Stamford midfielder Harry Deane and ex-Deeping Rangers hitman Ryan Oliver among his early targets.
The Holbeach boss also hopes to get the best out of midfield maestro Paul Goodhand next season. Having struggled with injury in his first season with the Tigers, Goodhand is being tipped to set the UCL alight next time around.
Chand added: “I was quite surprised to see Kenny go to Spalding, I only imagined he’d leave to better himself in a higher division.
“But Goody can fill that void and I fully expect him to be a shining light for us next season. I’m desperate to keep him and get the best out of him, he can be the best player in the league.”
Holbeach will need to strengthen in midfield though, with Wes Lewis expected to be ruled out for another YEAR with the ankle injury he picked up at the end of the campaign.