By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH FC have announced that former players Pat Suraci and Joe Lea have been officially appointed as joint managers with immediate effect following the departure of Mark Molesley; the duo hoping to re-vitalise the AEI Stadium after a difficult 2022-23 campaign that saw the team struggle through the year.
This news was released on Monday afternoon (May 8) and marks the return of two fan favourites to Gosport; Suraci and Lea playing over three hundred times for the club over recent years. Their last appearances were seen in the early stages of the 2021-22 campaign before damaging injuries saw them move to management.
The pair have extensive coaching experience that began with development roles with both Chelsea and AFC Bournemouth; further taking charge of Borough’s Academy over recent seasons. this time they have seen a number of players promoted to the first team alongside multiple successes at college, youth, and club levels.
One of these successes saw Gosport reach the FA Youth Cup First Round Proper back in November 2022; a record breaking run in the competition that ended with a three-nil defeat versus Bromley. This brought further opportunities as four players were promoted to the first team against Clanfield in the Portsmouth Senior Cup.
A joint partnership saw Suraci and Lea become ‘joint managers’ of Petersfield last summer alongside leading the Gosport Centre of Excellence; bringing success for the Rams throughout. Under their leadership the club secured promotion to the Wessex League Premier and finished as the League Cup runners-up last Saturday.
All Borough supporters will be hoping that Suraci and Lea can replicate these successes at the AEI Stadium; where they are looking to improve on a disappointing seventeenth place finish in the Southern League. Good runs in the FA Cup and Trophy would further be seen as progress following ‘cup-sets’ to lower division sides.
The full statement from Gosport Borough can be read here, with quotes from the Chairman and other figures likely to follow; which may include an early indication of pre-season friendlies and potential summer signings.
PICTURED BY HAROLD WELLS: Pat Suraci and Joe Lea stand on the wet touchline as Petersfield lose the Wessex League Cup final versus Baffins Milton Rovers last Saturday; held at the home of AFC Portchester.