DAVE Diaper, proud manager and chairman of FA Vase finalists Sholing, could so nearly have ended up an Eastleigh man.

After just one season with the Boatmen – then known as Vosper Thornycroft – he was invited to become part of Paul Doswell’s bold plans to lift the Stoneham Lane club out of the Wessex ranks and aim for the very top of the non-League pyramid.

At around the time Diaper took over at Vospers, Doswell was managing the Hampshire senior representative side and Diaper was involved in the county set-up as coach.

Part of Doswell’s strategy to take Eastleigh through the leagues was to use the club’s Saints links as much as possible – hence the highly-publicised signings of Dell legend Matt Le Tissier and, later, Francis Benali and Jason Dodd.

Diaper recalled: “I’d spent one season at Vospers when Dossie asked me if I’d be coach at Eastleigh.

“I went to his house for a chat, but it was it wasn’t for me.

“I could never imagine me coaching Matt Le Tissier!

“I’d only just started at Vospers and I wanted to stay and it went on from there.”