FA VASE heroes Sholing are promoting from within to replace Dave Diaper as manager.
Two long-serving clubmen, Dave Fear and Mick Marsh, will jointly run the Boatmen’s first team on their return to the Southern League ranks.
Marsh, a former Portsmouth RN and Bishop’s Waltham man, has been part of the first-team set-up as head coach and made a pivotal contribution to this season’s magical FA Vase/Wessex Premier double.
As a teenager the 55-year-old played for Wales under-16s and he went on to coach the Royal Navy’s under-18s and under-21s.
Fear, 48, was a well-known name on the Wessex playing circuit with Eastleigh, AFC Totton, Romsey Town, Gosport Borough and Fareham Town before switching to management with Sholing’s reserves.
Under his and coach Gavin Dobson’s guidance, the club’s second string have delivered a treasure trove of silverware, recently following up Southampton Senior Cup success at St Mary’s by clinching another Wyvern Premier title.
Diaper, who brought the curtain down on 14 years of management with an emotional 1-0 win over West Auckland at Wembley on Saturday, is staying on as chairman and director of football and looking to capitalise on Sholing’s headline-hitting antics by attracting much-needed investment into the club.
Mick Brown, his trusty right-hand man, and current director of football Kev Harnett are also staying, but their roles have yet to be finalised.
Discussing Fear and Marsh’s appointment, Diaper said: “If it’s not broke, don’t mend it.
“Mick and Dave both have long-term ties with the club.
“Marshy’s been coach with me for eight or nine years and the players respond to him.
“Rather than bringing in a new regime, it makes sense to have continuity of the coaching methods and playing style which have been successful so far.
“The players know them both, so there will be no clash of personalities.
“Dave and Gavin have had some very successful years with the reserves and the communication between them and the first team has been good, which is one of the club’s strengths.
“Because of first-team commitments, I haven’t always been able to see the reserves but I’ve stayed regularly in touch with Dave and Dobbo and that’s helped in bringing young players through.”
Given the volume of work he and Brown have had to deal with over the years, Diaper says it makes sense to appoint joint managers.
“Both have different strengths,” he said. “Marshy’s a good coach and very authoritative. He’s got a voice you can hear from one side of the field to the other!
“Our lads are a close bunch and you’ve got to be a certain individual with mental strength to manage boys like that.”
Diaper also revealed that he is looking to bring in extra coaching expertise and has approached former Saints academy coach Dave Puckett about joining the Boatmen.