FA VASE heroes Sholing have won the race to sign Alresford Town’s triple trophy-winning skipper and centre-back Stuart Mott.
Fresh from captaining the Magpies to a hat-trick of knockout victories in the Sydenhams, North Hants Senior and Aldershot Senior cups, Mott was one of four players to put pen to paper for the Boatmen over the weekend as they prepare for their Southern League return.
Also new in at the Silverlake Arena is powerful former Winchester City and Gosport Borough striker Nathan Lynch, while Vase-winning skipper Byron Mason and defender TJ Cuthbertson have both agreed new deals with the promoted Wessex champions.
Lynch arrives from Graham Rix’s ambitious Sydenhams Premier outfit AFC Portchester, who also had Mott, 22, high on their wanted list.
Portchester’s director of football Mick Jenkins admitted: “We tried to sign Stuart. He’s very highly thought of by myself and Graham (Rix). But he’s gone to Sholing and I can understand his desire to play higher.”
Southampton-based Lynch made 12 Wessex appearances for Portchester last season, scoring eight goals, and moves on with the club’s blessing.
“We wish Nathan well at Sholing,” said Jenkins. “He came in at a difficult time at the start of the year when we were not playing many games and it took him ages to get going.
“We’ve also got Nathan Kirby and Jamie Musselwhite who play in that position and we couldn’t keep all three of them.
“I had Nathan with me when I managed Bognor and I feel that maybe moving closer to home is best for him. We’ve parted on good terms.
“You need strength at any level of football and Nathan’s got it in abundance. He’s probably a good fit for Sholing going into the Southern League.”
Portchester have parted company with Rix’s No2 Louis Bell and welcomed in former Havant & Waterlooville coach/interim manager Steve Johnson, who spent four months as Eastleigh’s coach in 2012 before then manager Ian Baird lost his job.
Having finished a best ever eighth in the Sydenhams Premier last season, the Wicor Rec outfit are aiming to go higher next term and mount a serious push for Southern League football in 2015/16.
“Louis has done a great job here and we thank him for everything,” said Jenkins. “It’s disappointing when you make changes, but we feel we want to move in a different direction and when someone of Steve’s calibre becomes available, it’s too good an opportunity to turn down.
“He’s a local Portchester man, an A Licence FA coach and has a wealth of non-League experience.
“No disrespect to any other coaches, but if there’s a better coaching team than Graham Rix and Steve Johnson at our level of football, then I haven’t come across one.”