By Jon Couch
Ben Strevens says it was the efforts of his Eastleigh players which ensured he got the nod to become the club’s permanent first-team manager.
The 38-year-old former Dagenham & Redbridge and Wycombe Wanderers forward has been in caretaker charge of the Spitfires since Andy Hessenthaler left to take the Dover Athletic job just under a month ago.
Hessenthaler left the club on the back of a four-match winning run but Strevens’ temporary reign hardly got off the best of starts, crashing out of the FA Cup at home to National League South Hampton & Richmond Borough and then suffering a derby defeat to Hampshire rivals Aldershot Town.
But victory at FC Halifax Town and successive 1-1 draws against league big guns, Leyton Orient and Salford City have since convinced the board that Strevens is the right man to take the club forward – and the rookie boss knows who to thank.
“My first two games in caretaker charge, I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t happy with the performances or the results,” Strevens said.
“But the boys have responded with their performances away at Halifax and then two real good results against two real good sides (Leyton Orient and Salford).
“Really, it’s the boys who got me this job and opportunity, I just want to carry on the good work and keep improving.
“After hearing the news on Friday, I can’t wait to get started now. I’m really looking forward to the job, it’ll be a hard job but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Confirming the appointment, Eastleigh’s executive Kenny Amor added: “Ben is an ambitious, young manager and is open to new ideas. As a board we are fully behind Ben, we will be investing in the coaching and support network he has at his disposal to ensure he has the correct resources to do the job.
“His assistant manager will be announced later this week. For me, Ben has showed in the last two weeks he is up to the challenge, the way he reacted to the disappointment of the FA Cup defeat to bounce back with three very good results and more importantly performances shows both he and his team can finish this season strongly.
“During my time at the club Ben was one of the best players we have had and if he can lead the team off the field as well as he did on it then we are in good hands. As a club, our goals have not changed from wanting league football and we believe in Ben we have the right man to deliver this.”