Our Match day programme team Graham and Will recently caught up with Hayden and asked him a few questions ahead of our final game of the season against Binfield Fc.
Here’s what he had to say
1. As we approach the last game of the season, how do you reflect on the season? Has managing Leatherhead been what you expected, or were there any additional challenges you weren’t expecting?HB: I think the players have done very well. When I arrived I think we were second from bottom and 3pts off the bottom of the League. As we approach the last game, it looks as though we will marginally miss the Play-Offs. When I was appointed, I suggested we would improve, climb the table and importantly, lay the foundations for next season. I’m delighted the team has achieved these targets.2. We’ve been on a great run of form with five wins in a row between the Chipstead game and Hanworth Villa. How do we make sure we consistently maintain this form next season?HB: By continuing to work hard and recognise we the need to improve. As I mentioned, the team have done very well but there remains room for improvement all over the pitch. I would like to think we will be at least 25% better in all areas of the pitch next season.3. When we last spoke you said that summer would be about ‘adding the final pieces to the jigsaw’ in terms of additional players, is this still the case? What are the key areas of the squad that we need to strengthen for next season?HB: Now that’s a secret! I’m clear on the positions we need to strengthen during Summer and have identified the players I would like to bring to the Club.4. It might be too early to say, but what are your predictions for next season?HB: My predictions are for Leatherhead to be promoted, Chelsea to win the League and Mick Sullivan to buy a drink in the bar! Hopefully one of those predictions will be right! If not all three!5. Is there a particular game that stands out as your highlight of the season?HB: The three games I would mention are Walton & Hersham away, Northwood at home and Hanworth Villa at home. We were excellent at Walton and showed our supporters the potential within the squad, against the League Leaders. We played some great football versus Northwood, who were another team at the top of the table. More recently, we showed how far we have improved defensively, against a very direct Hanworth Villa.6. Any stand out goal that Leatherhead have scored this season?HB: I think you can chose any of Dan Hector’s goals! He doesn’t believe in tap-ins, does he? His goals against Merstham, Chertsey and Chipstead were all stand out moments!7. You might not want to pick just one best player, but which players have particularly stood out this season?HB: It really would be unfair to say. It’s been such a collective effort from the entire squad. Everyone has worked so hard to lay the foundations we needed to in our first six months together.8. We have the best supporters in the league, with our away fans usually out singing the home fans when we’re on the road, how important is it for the team that we maintain this level of support?HB: The Leatherhead fans have been tremendous! They have been unbelievable in every game and have been and will be, a key part in our success. I cannot thank our supporters enough. They have been absolutely brilliant!9. We know you’re a big Chelsea fan, what’s gone wrong at Chelsea this season? Were the club too quick to dismiss Graham Potter?HB: Where do you start on this one? It’s clear the Club and the team in particular, are crying out for stability. There have been so many changes at Stamford Bridge, all the way up to the owners. That said, if Chelsea can settle down, stream line the squad and sign a natural goalscorer, I think the good times will return to the Bridge. I’ve watched the team plenty of times this season and despite everything, they are not as far away some may think.10. Do you have plans to relax over the summer, or is it just a case of waiting for next seasons fixture list to come out?HB: I’ll have a week to ten days off then will start implementing my plans for the new season. It’s going to be a very important season for Leatherhead so we need to ensure everything is meticulously planned. This Club needs to return the Premier Division in May 2024. Both on and off the pitch, we are working hard to make sure that ambition is realised. Exciting times are ahead at Fetcham Grove!11. Do you have any final message to the supporters?
HB: On behalf of the team, I would like to thank you for your exceptional support. As I said earlier, it has been amazing! I’m fully aware the supporters have been through a rollacoaster of a ride in the last few years. The good news is, at last the Club is settled and ready to move forward. I’ve come to Leatherhead to win promotion and then challenge the top clubs in the Premier Division. I know this a big Club and know how big Leatherhead could be. Rest assured, I’m working seven days a week to create a team you can be proud of and bring the success our supporters deserve. Enjoy the Summer break and come back in good voice. We are going to need you!