GRAHAM Kemp insists Winchester City are “no better off” for replacing him as manager as he prepares for a return to the Denplan with Hamworthy United.
The County Ground boss admits he has a point to prove when he travels back up the M3 for the first time since ending his short and ill-fated stint in charge of City by mutual consent in October.
Kemp revealed he “never felt truly settled” at Winchester but still secured 27 points from 14 Wessex League matches, a record he has replicated since taking the Hammers hot seat at the end of November.
Under his successor Neil Hards, City have taken 40 points from 21 league games ahead of tomorrow’s showdown (3pm), a record which prompted Kemp to question the switch.
“They’re certainly no better off,” said Kemp.
“Whether they were right to part company with us is open to debate but I would say the bigger question is whether they put the right person in charge after that. If there has been no improvement then you would probably have to say they didn’t.
“It will be quite funny going back but there will be no emotion or sentiment.
“There certainly wasn’t a lot of enjoyment for anyone, for me or the players and we never felt truly settled there like we do at Hamworthy.
"I don’t think the situation felt right for me or Dave (Malone, Winchester chairman) from day one.”
And with added spice of facing his former employer, Kemp made no secret of the fact that a victory on Saturday would taste especially sweet.
He added: “We have ambition and Winchester are up near the top but I want to go there and win to prove that I am a good manager who is capable of doing the job at this level.
"It’s a pride thing. I want to sit in their bar with a pint afterwards with a smile on my face and enjoy the moment.
“I’m sure they will have plenty to say about that but there’s nothing better than that winning feeling, that’s why we’re in the game.”
United expect to have a full quota of players available for the clash including Karl Yelland, Russell Cook and Ben Osborne, who all played under Kemp at Winchester.
- Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Verwood Town entertain Fareham Town, Bournemouth Poppies host Folland Sports and Christchurch play Bemerton Heath Harlequins at Hurn Bridge.
In Wessex One, Ringwood Town travel to bottom club Hayling United and New Milton Town host Tadley Calleva (all 3pm).