By Will Bradley
Rae Hughes, 35, will replace Graham Kemp as the new manager of Bemerton Heath Harlequins.
The former Downton manager takes over the Wessex League club at the end of the season, replacing Kemp who took over the team in March, 2015.
Rae successfully led Downton FC to 10th place in the Sydenhams Division One league last season, but has now turned his attention to his new management role.
“I enjoyed my time at Downton; they gave me a chance, I have good friends there and we have a good relationship,” Rae told Valley News.
“Bemerton Heath Harlequins has fantastic facilities and I aim to attract a mixture of good young players with experienced players.
“There is no reason Bemerton can’t be competitive in the league. I’m very ambitious and I want to keep a core of local young talent,” the ambitious Rae added.
Rae was an ex-Salisbury City FC physio and is hoping to work with Salisbury FC next season.
“I’ve spoken to Salisbury FC and if any players are lacking game time or consistency, I would take them on.
Rae was also the former physio at National League South side Gosport Borough.
“I have good local contacts; I’ll have a think who I can sell the club to.
“I want the core of the team to be local, but that starts with being competitive on the football field and creating a buzz around the club,” Rae stressed.
“There is definitely potential here because the Bemerton committee are very hard-working. There is no reason we can’t be successful and challenge for promotion from the Wessex League.”
The club is currently hoping to arrange friendlies for next season.
“I want to start as soon as possible. We are planning to arrange away friendlies and one or two friendlies at home and I’ve spoken to a couple of clubs,” Rae said.
“I’m still starting out in management, I hope to get the club going and hopefully live up to expectations, I have ambitions and want to be competitive,” he added.
Clive Leonard, Vice-Chairman of Bemerton Heath Harlequins, is delighted to have recruited Rae for next season and is calling on local football fans to support the club.
“The club is looking forward to working with Rae as he comes with a good pedigree and has good links and relationships with his previous clubs,” Clive told Valley News.
“Rae lives is Salisbury, so having a local manager with his level of knowledge is an added bonus to the club. Hopefully local supporters of football will come along to support Rae and the club.
“Bemerton Heath Harlequins would like to thank Graham Kemp, James Wood, Jim Totczyk and Andy Nash for all their hard work this season and hopefully this can be rewarded. We can hope to end on a high by winning one of the two cup competitions we are left in,” Clive stated.