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Montpellier Football Club have made a quickfire start to life in Cheltenham League

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Friday, 17th December 2021, 09:00

Montpellier Football Club Montpellier Football Club

Talk to any number of football managers around the county and they will tell you that being the boss doesn’t ever compare with actually playing the game.

But one person who doesn’t subscribe to that view is Mike Hackett, the man in charge of newly formed Cheltenham League Division Three club Montpellier.

Mind you, it probably helps that the 32-year-old has seen his players make a quickfire start to the campaign, a start that has put them among the favourites for promotion come the end of the season.

“I get more enjoyment and excitement watching the lads play and win games than I ever did as a player,” he insisted.

And Hackett, primarily a centre-half, is talking from experience because he started playing football as a 13-year-old at Pittville United.

It was something he was obviously quite good at too because by the age of 15 he was playing adult football for Gas Green.

Since then his clubs have included Cheltenham Saracens Reserves, Whaddon United, Dowty Dynamos and Woodmancote, and he also won a stack of trophies with FC Whaddon in the old Cheltenham Sunday League.

This is his first time as a manager and he said: “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. When I was offered the chance I just took it.”

That offer was made by Liam Bond, who founded the club with his good friend Sam Collier, and it’s fair to say that all the signs are they’ve got exactly the right man for the job.

“I’ve come here to win everything,” said Hackett. “I play football to win, I want to win the league and every single cup we’re in.

“I want to push through the league as quickly as we can, I want to get established in the Northern Senior League and then push on from there.”

Hackett is, understandably, not short of confidence. The club have got some 50 players signed on and he said that about 24 make themselves available every week.

He has played three games himself this season and explained: “Liam is the club secretary and I look after the football side of things.

“I brought most of the players to the club. The players we’ve got shouldn’t be playing at the level they are, they are too good.

“We’re strong in every single position. Any one of my players could play Northern Senior League standard but they want to support me.”

Ask him to pick out a couple of players and he offers three.

“Tommy Cooper is our leading goalscorer and he’s got most assists,” said Hackett, “he plays attacking midfield.

“Lewis Peters, a striker, is our second highest scorer, but Andy Crosskey, who is also a striker, is our best player.”

Hackett plays an attacking 4-3-3 formation and while things are obviously going well on the field, it’s equally important that things are right off the pitch as well.

“I want to do this job for the long-term,” he said. “I want to see how far we can go knowing that I have helped build the club to where they are already.

“I could have just carried on playing football but I want to push this as far as I can.”

And he’s not working alone, of course.

“Assistant manager Scott Green and coaches John Fullwood, Ben Griffiths and Paul Godfrey help me manage the team,” said Hackett.

“Without these four I definitely wouldn’t be able to do any of this.”

And there’s every chance the management team will be even busier in 2022/23. 

“Next season we’ll hopefully have a reserve team but I don’t just want a reserve team to keep players happy, I want it to compete,” Hackett said.

“I want it to help the first team by giving players the chance to regain fitness after they’ve been injured.”

Despite their name, the club currently play their home games at Clyde Crescent in Whaddon but that may change in the future.

“We’re in talks with the council about moving to Priors playing field,” confirmed Hackett.

On and off the pitch, these are certainly exciting times for Montpellier Football Club.

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