Honiton Town boss Kev Blackwell decides time is right to stand down

Honiton at home were held to a one all draw against Elmore. Ref mhsp 16-17TI 1053. picture: Terry If

Honiton at home were held to a one all draw against Elmore. Ref mhsp 16-17TI 1053. picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Honiton Town will be under a new manager when they launch their new life as a South West Peninsula League club in a couple of month’s time.

That’s because Kev Blackwell, who oversaw the magnificent past season’s Macron Devon and Exeter League title winning campaign, has decided its time for him to step aside and let someone else take charge.

The popular Hippos chief explained his decision saying: “It has not been easy making this decision.

“I have given a lot of thought, indeed, I have thought of little else since the season ended.

“However, on the back of a fantastic period for the club, the time is right for me to do this.

You may also want to watch:

“It is not very often that you get the opportunity to leave on a high note and, securing promotion to the South West Peninsula League (SWPL) is a pinnacle of the club’s history to date.

“Of course there has been club success previously and there have been some wonderful squads put together at Mountbatten Park over the years, but it is also fair to say that no one has achieved what I have done with this current terrific squad of players.”

Most Read

When asked it he felt the case was one that perhaps he had taken the current crop of players as far as he could, Blackwell replied: “With this group of players at the club right now, it would not surprise me if they do not continue to develop and succeed. Of course, they will need two or three additional players of suitable quality, but the core of the team is there to make me believe they can continue to ruffle feathers at a higher level.”

He continued, saying: “To manage Honiton Town, I feel that you need to give it 100 per cent of your time an energy – and nothing less than that.

“This past year, almost on a daily basis, I found myself chasing players to organising training and then beginning preparation for the next match - including sorting kit, food and the warm-up. All that has taken lots of time and now I’d like to spend that time with my family.”

In terms of a legacy that he leaves behind, Blackwell says: “I am extremely proud of my time as manager at Honiton Town.

“I have taken the club from Division Two to Premier football within a short space of time. We have written a new chapter in the history of the club and that will stay with me for ever. I have been so fortunate to have had some fantastic support along the way.

“The club seems to have a large band of incredibly loyal and passionate people. None more so than John Connett who has consistently prepared the best pitch in the league and run the line for me - never an easy ask!

“Pete Farmer always helps me pre-match and sort things out for training. Tish and Alan have been as part of this journey as anyone, their support has been unequivocal and they have never been anything but totally supportive.

“Roger Doble has come in this season, and has also been supportive, phoning me two or three times a week making sure I have everything I need and can he help with anything.

“The club is definitely in safe hands with Roger and he is driven to push the club on further still.”

While there is no single game that stands out across his three years in charge, Blackwell says: It has certainly been a whirlwind few years. I am fortunate to have had some terrific players, and been lucky to have some brilliant assistants over the seasons.

“Andrew Wall, Neil Holt, Garry Osbourne and Nick ‘Oggy’ Ogden, have all committed to the Hippo cause and given their all to the club and myself.

“Nick, in particular, has kept me sane this season as it has been a hard year.”

So what of the future for the Hippos without Kev Blackwell as manager? The departing ‘gaffer’ says: “I am sure that Roger and Alan will make the right appointment. That person will have my 100 per cent support! It’s a hard enough job without someone whispering in the corner. My only hope for the new manager is that it is as smooth a transition as possible and that the players from this season are given the opportunity in the SWPL.

“I do think that the levels of commitment are going to have to be raised by the players from hereon in. Availability needs to be more consistent on a match day, and attendance at training will need to be paramount.

“That said, this team have raised the bar in each of the three seasons I worked with them and I fully expect them to do the same next season.”

So will the old manager be keeping an eye on proceedings all things Honiton Town.

Blackwell says: “Of course, but I am also conscious of the fact that anew manager will not want the old one poking his nose in here there and everywhere. I’ll be supporting the Hippos of course, and if the new ‘gaffer’ wants any form of help he’ll get it from me. I’d like to think there might be a role for me I some capacity. I have invested far too much in terms of my life to my home town club to simply walk away from it all lock stock and barrel.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus