HAMPTON manager Alan Dowson was a relieved man as he finally clinched the signing of his No. 1 target, goalkeeper Sam Howes, this afternoon.
Howes starred for the Beavers last season while on loan from West Ham, but in the close season he transferred to Watford, to join their Under-23 squad.
A further loan at National League level has been a strong possibility since the switch, but Hampton faced competition from other clubs, alerted to Sam’s ability after a string of fine performances.
Dowse has kept in regular touch with the player, his agent Paul Goddard (a former team-mate at Millwall) and with Watford and was able to confirm the signing today after a number of last-minute delays.
Howes, 19, will be in goal for Hampton at Dulwich on Friday night in a friendly and is scheduled to start the Middlesex Senior Cup final against Wealdstone at The Beveree next Tuesday, 7.30pm.
He was buzzing as he posed for pictures with Dowse at The Beveree. He’s excited about his move to Watford and will soon move into his own flat close to the training ground.
Equally, he can’t wait to meet up with many of his former mates from last season after bonding with them in the Beavers’ great run towards the play-offs.
There was an exchange of excited phone calls with some of the boys once the news was confirmed.
Dowse said: “I’ve been on tenterhooks for a couple of weeks now. I’d told the chairman he was my No.1 target and I was confident of getting him, but it’s been a tense few days. He will be brilliant for us, and I’m already convinced he’s the best in the division.”
The loan is initially until January, but Dowse sees no reason why that won’t be extended until the end of the season.
Priorities for him now are another central defender, a midfielder and possibly a winger.
Updated 17:31 - 20 Jul 2017 by Rob Overfield