Manager Seb Hayes has won the battle to keep his Huntingdon Town squad together and the two players who scored 71 goals between them last season – Declan Rogers and Ben Seymour-Shove – believe the team can now challenge for the title.
Huntingdon came second in the Premier Division of the United Counties League and won a UCL Cup and Hinchingbrooke Cup double. It was a fantastic ending to Hayes’s first season as manager of the club after he took over from Ricky Marheineke late last year. Seymour-Shove, who scored 35 goals, told The Hunts Post: “I made an agreement to stay because what Huntingdon offered me was better than what all the other clubs had put on the table.
“I am happy to stay because I want to play for a club that has a drive to be successful and that’s what Huntingdon have. If we add a few players to what we already have then we will have another great season – I am 100 per cent sure of that.”
Both Seymour-Shove and Rogers had offers to consider before saying they would stay put. In fact, Hayes said most of the club’s players had interest from elsewhere. He said: “They all said at the end of the season they didn’t want to leave and nearly all of them have had offers to go elsewhere. Some have had four or five teams after them.
“But they have bought into the vision and they like playing together. They have a good camaraderie and togetherness and that is hard to replicate. They know we can match their aspirations. They have bought into what we are doing here at Huntingdon and what we are trying to achieve.”
Rogers, who scored 36 goals to win the golden boot, said: “It’s brilliant that we have been able to keep the same squad together.
“I was always going to stay if the other players were, no matter which clubs came in for me.
“If we bring in one or two new faces as well just to strengthen the team again then we can hopeful push for promotion.”
Coach Paul Swannell has left the club, however, linking up with the former Huntingdon manager Marheineke at St Ives Town.
Hayes, pictured above right with Swannell, said: “Paul was a pleasure to work with and he deserves his chance to move up to the next level with Rick. Everyone at Huntingdon from the directors, management and the players wish Paul every success for the future.”
But in Mark Arber, the coach who joined the club midway through the campaign, Rogers believes Huntingdon have a ready-made replacement for Swannell.
He said: “I can’t wait for pre-season to get underway because I believe with Mark Arber’s footballing brain we will be successful again.”