Lance Key hoping to retain character and spirit of Histon squad
Future comes into the Stutes' focus
Lance Key has set his target on retaining the character and spirit in the current Histon squad if they are to bid to make an immediate return to the Evo-Stik League Southern.
The Stutes suffered relegation from Division One Central after their loss to Bedford Town on Easter Monday, and their campaign was completed with a 4-1 defeat at Kempston last Saturday.
But the resolve of the current group of players is reminiscent of the squad that helped Histon out of the Eastern Counties League last time, which is appropriate given that many of them will be returning this Sunday (April 30) for a legends’ game at the Glass World Stadium.
Looking back to the time when they took on Yeovil in the FA Cup, Key said: “What we had in my career at Histon was a group of players that were very local, were together and were a team.
“Gary Johnson (Yeovil’s manager) said at the time that whatever we had, he wished he could bottle it as you can’t buy that team spirit.”
And as the current Histon boss, Key feels that it is something that is prevalent again with this crop of players, especially given how close they came to avoiding relegation.
“We looked a beaten side (against Kempston) after the Bank Holiday weekend and the two 2-1 losses, but I said to them we have something that we have to keep – togetherness, a good team spirit in the camp and some good results,” he said.
“I said my hardest challenge is to keep them together, or three quarters of the squad at least.
“If we can keep the nucleus of this together, we have a great chance of bouncing back.
“They know we have created something in the club in the last five months and for that to be successful next year, 80 per cent of them have to stay.”
Many of the youngsters have gained a full season under their belts, and they were given a boost during the campaign with the arrivals of the likes of Dan Gleeson, Evan Key, Lee Smith and James Carman.
“The youngsters being in the dressing room are confident in themselves,” said Key.
“Bringing in those players that have played a lot more games, at different levels, the youngsters can see what they bring in confidence, arrogance and their ability.
“The youngsters realise the next step they need to be at to be successful. We will learn from not quite making it and be stronger and wiser for it.”
And despite the relegation, the last five months have offered Histon some rays of light.
“It’s probably the first time in a while that the club has seen an upturn in fortunes,” added Key. “The performances are encouraging, and the results are encouraging. Pre-season next year is important.”
Histon’s Legends Family Day is at the Glass World Stadium on Sunday.
Players from Key’s two spells at the club, managed by Steve Fallon and Alan Doyle, will contest the match, kick off 1pm, to raise funds for the club.
Jim Stevenson, Nick Freeman, Neil Kennedy, Guiliano Maiorana, Neil Andrews, Peter Leete, Colin Vowden, Gary Haylock, Gary Dean, Ada Cambridge and Ian Cambridge are among those set to take part.