Written by Adam McGroarty (@AdamMcGroarty)
Nerve Sport is delighted to be in affiliation with local non-league side Hamworthy United Football Club. With lots of exclusive content from the club coming to our platforms, here’s an introduction to ‘The Hammers’.
Hamworthy United are thinking big in the 5th step of non-league football, so much so they have had the presence of a king at their ground. Already royalty amongst many football fans, Harry Redknapp has made his presence felt at the club.
The former Premier League manager opened the new clubhouse, Hamworthy Party Venue, shortly after being crowned ‘King of the Jungle’ on ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ in December 2018.
The club also has an intriguing past in the local area too.
Early records show a team was first formed in the 1890’s and played under the name ‘Hamworthy St Michael’s’, before becoming Hamworthy Football Club in 1926.
The current name, Hamworthy United Football Club was the result of a merger between Hamworthy Football Club and Trinidad Old Boys in 1970, since the club had missed the prior 1969/70 season due to administration problems.
The club currently sits ninth out of 20 teams in the Wessex League Premier Division, step five of non-league.
Hamworthy United play their games at the Specsavers County Ground, which is also home to the Dorset County Football Association.
The complex, which has undergone major redevelopment to turn a grass pitch into an artificial surface, sets out to become a ‘hub for community involvement’.
The redevelopment began in May 2016 and was funded with the help of a £467,000 grant from the Premier League and Football Association Facilities Fund.
The Hamworthy Party Venue, a new clubhouse, is also situated pitchside, and is a valuable source of income for the club.
However, the clubhouse facility and the pitch are currently left without the presence of a matchday crowd, and its return is unknown.
“I genuinely do feel for those it has seriously affected.”
An early decision was taken to ‘null and void’ the Wessex League Premier Division, therefore the league will not be resuming.
Hamworthy United’s goalkeeping coach, Ben Sullivan, said: “For me, I believe the right decision was made for the safety of everyone; fans, staff and players. That may be easy for me to say as we weren’t in the shake-up for promotion, but after a season of change we were on a great run of form looking for a ‘top five’ finish.
“I genuinely do feel for those it has seriously affected.
“There were a couple of teams fighting for promotion and to have the season made null and void understandably frustrated them considering the investment some of these teams had made.
“As per some other league across the country, points-per-game was suggested and when it was not considered some managers and board chairmen have walked.
“Personally for me, the right decision has been made. Some may suggest I would say that as it doesn’t affect me as we were not in that position but I would maintain that stance.
“There are some things in life that are more important, life being one of them! That goes for the new season, we must only restart when it is safe to do so, yet I do understand their upset.”
The current Hamworthy United side features some names in their squad list that may recall a few memories. Jamie Gleeson, midfielder, was in the Dorchester Town team that beat Plymouth Argyle in an FA Cup giant killing in 2012.
The first-team manager, Tim Sills, also has a headline story to his name. Sills, who is starting his managerial career at Hamworthy United, famously scored the winning goal in the 2009 playoff final at Wembley Stadium. Take a moment to view the goal scored by the Hamworthy gaffer!
To view the full first-team squad and staff, click here.
A new chapter
The club suffered a big loss earlier in the season when former chairman, Steve Harvey, as well as club Secretary, Kevin Keets, stood down in 2019 due to ill health. Treasurer Kim Harvey also stood down, and ‘The Hammers’ now have a new board in place. Bruce Scammell is the president of the club, accompanied by new chairman, Steven Mitchener.
However, it hasn’t been an easy task for the new board to establish themselves in the midst of a global pandemic.
Ben Sullivan added: “Steve Harvey had overseen the transition of the club in recent years with the installation of the Hamworthy Party Venue, and also was involved and supported the creation of the new 4G pitch.
“Steve made some giant strides in a short space of time for the club and has put us on a great footing to really move onwards and upwards – his, Kevin’s and Kim’s efforts must be thanked.”
Coronavirus hasn’t made it an easy start to life at the club for new chairman Steven Mitchener, as Ben Sullivan explained. He said: “Times are hard for all non-league clubs at present and with our main source of income, The Hamworthy Party venue being closed, we do still have rent and utility bills to pay.
“Football clubs still heavily rely on sponsorship, but in this current climate it is proving very difficult, understandably, to get commitment from new and existing sponsors because they themselves are not certain they will survive this pandemic!
“We are so grateful for our friends and fans with sponsorship opportunities – we have plenty on our social media pages if anyone wants to look!”
Nerve Sport’s next Hamworthy United exclusive will look into how the club and its staff are dealing during the coronavirus pandemic, and ways you can help. In the meantime, follow The Hammers on Twitter ‘@HamworthyUtdFC’, Instagram ‘hamworthyunitedfc’ and ‘like’ the club’s Facebook page to keep updated with the latest news.