“One CAN only wonder where Borough and Bognor would be now had Jamie Howell not changed clubs!”
So ended the match report on the official Eastbourne Borough FC website after the Rocks lost 3-0 at their Sussex rivals on Easter Monday. It was just two days after Bognor sealed promotion to the National South that Howell said he was leaving Nyewood Lane.
Speaking afterwards, the former Arsenal trainee made clear the decision was made with a heavy heart, but he had been presented with an offer he could not turn down.
There were very few Rocks fans who resented Howell making the move. After years of squeezing every last drop out of a tight-knit squad, most felt he deserved a new start on enhanced financial terms.
But Howell’s departure triggered an eventful summer at Nyewood Lane which ended with general manager Jack Pearce reluctantly taking charge once again. Players within the squad defend Pearce to the hilt, praising his modern approach to the game and the positivity that he brings to the dressing room.
But Howell’s appearance on the touchline on Monday, in a different dugout, would have reminded Rocks fans of far happier days.