Published: 06:00, 07 November 2019
Derek Hares is enjoying management as much as ever after celebrating his 70th birthday with a thumping win.
Hares, who’s been at Deal since 2003, saw his side beat Oxhey Jets 4-1 in the FA Vase second round on Saturday.
It was the perfect way to mark his birthday and Hares has no plans to retire any time soon.
He said: “I’ve been doing this since I was in my 30s and I’ve been at Deal for 16 years.
“It’s gone too quick but I still love it and if I didn’t I wouldn’t be doing it.
“I’ve been lucky to have good people with me over the years, Andy Bigginton, Mark Munday, Paul Lamb, Mark Harrop and now Steve King, who have been a big help.
“I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. Deal’s my hometown club and I just want them to do well.
“I’ve always enjoyed the challenge and I’ve met so many nice people over the years.
“We’ve been through some difficult times at Deal but anyone who goes to the club now can see it’s going in the right direction.
“I don’t know when I’ll stop. I take it season to season but it might not be my decision – it probably won’t be!
“This is probably the youngest team I’ve ever had.
“Kingy’s got a lot to do with that because a lot of these lads have come through schools football and Kent football
and he’s known them for a long time.
“We’ve been fortunate to bring them to the club.
“I’m sure some could go to other clubs for more money but they’ve been very loyal.”
Deal visit Sheppey in Southern Counties East this Saturday.
The Ites are fourth but Deal, in 10th, could go level on points with a win.
Hares said: “That’s always a difficult game there but it’s a lovely set-up and a lovely pitch and I’m looking forward to the game.
“We’ve played well in our last two games and hopefully we can keep that going.”
Deal have been drawn at home to Combined Counties League side Southall in the FA Vase third round.
The tie is due to take place on November 30 and carries prize money of £1,125.
Hares said: “I’m so pleased we haven’t drawn someone in our own league.
“All games are difficult from now on but personally I’m always disappointed when we draw someone from our own league.”
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More by this authorCraig Tucker