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Eastleigh set for investment from Bridle Insurance

By Simon Walter

Eastleigh hit a late equaliser to earn an FA Trophy replay against Chippenham Town – but their best result of the weekend was off the pitch.

The Spitfires went 1-0 down at the Southern Premier side to a goal from their former player Toby Osman, son of ex-Saints and England defender Russell.

But Richard Gillespie’s late header ensured the sides will try again at the Silverlake Stadium at 7.45pm tomorrow, with the winners set to play either Weymouth or Havant & Waterlooville in an away tie in the First Round Proper.

Whatever the result in the replay, the good news for Eastleigh fans is that the club’s long-term ambitions have been given a significant boost.

Eastleigh’s board decided at a meeting on Saturday morning to “recommend to the shareholders acceptance of an offer from Bridle Insurance Limited for the purchase of a majority shareholding”.

Bridle Insurance, which is based in Witney, Oxfordshire, have been the backers of Glenn Hoddle’s academy in the past and are also the shirt sponsors of League Two Oxford United. They have long-term plans to help upgrade the Silverlake Stadium into a Football League ground and finance additions to the squad – starting this week.

The news has given a huge lift to everyone involved in the Conference South outfit.

Five-year plan
Bridle Insurance

Managing director David Malone said: "The board meeting couldn't have gone any better.

"Bridle have a five-year plan to get the ground up to League standard and us into the Football League.

"We've currently got a safety certificate for a 3,000 capacity, which meets Conference South regulations, and we would need to have a ground capable of holding 4,000 and 5,000 for promotion into the Conference and League Two respectively.

"But Bridle are looking at financing a 7,500 all-seater stadium.

"We're delighted and will be meeting soon to discuss how to constitute the board.

"But their chief executive Stewart Donald and chief operations officer Neil Fox would both come on to the board as directors, and their wish is for Paul Murray to remain as chairman and for myself to remain on the board.

"They've made it clear they want to retain other shareholders and have already addressed a review of our playing budget.

"We're already looking at the market place to see if there are players out there and available who can improve what we've got.

"We would hope to do something this week."

Two other parties also expressed an interest in investing in the Spitfires this month.

Malone added: "The other two have said that if we need further investment they would still be interested."


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Fixtures 2017/2018

Eastleigh will begin the 2017/18 season away at Bromley on the 5th August.

Richard Hill's Spitfires will face their first home match of the season against Sutton United.

First 4 fixtures -

5/8 @bromleyfc (A)
8/8 @suttonunited (H)
12/8 @Dag_RedFC (H)
15/8 @wokingfc (A)#Spitfires — Eastleigh FC (@EastleighFC) July 5, 2017
Last 4 fixtures -

7/4 @Wrexham_AFC (H)
14/4 @GatesheadFC (A)
21/4 @thesilkmen (H)
28 @SolihullMoors (A)#Spitfires — Eastleigh FC (@EastleighFC) July 5, 2017
🎄Christmas period -

23/12 @Dag_RedFC (A)
26/12 @TUFC1899 (H)
30/12 @wokingfc (H)
1/1 @TUFC1899 (A)#Spitfires — Eastleigh FC (@EastleighFC) July 5, 2017
Eastleigh's National League fixtures unveiled for 2017/18 EASTLEIGH will kick off the new National League season away from home.

AFC Fylde 2-2 Eastleigh

Ryan Broom scored twice to help maintain Eastleigh's unbeaten run, which now stretches to nine games in the National League.

Spitfires boss Andy Hessenthaler reflecting on the point said: “I think it was a fair result.

“The way we started the game was tremendous. We pinned them back and we got the goal.

“But Fylde are a good side. They’re young, they have very good movement and they take risks. It’s hard to stop their flow of play, but we dug in and defended really well.

“They equalised, but we responded straight afterwards with an absolutely fantastic goal. It was a sublime finish by Ryan who had an exceptional afternoon on his first start.

“It (Fylde's late equaliser) was a little bit frustrating when we were so close to getting all three points, but this was a good point and a valuable one against a decent side.

“My target when I took over was two points a game. I’ve had eight games and we’re actually two points ahead of that target with 18.

“We’ve now got to build on that …

Eastleigh 4-4 Bromley

Paul McCallum bagged a hattrick for Eastleigh in a rollercoaster 4-4 draw against Bromley at the Silverlake Stadium.

Richard Hill's reaction: “There’s been times when I’ve been accused of not entertaining people, but today we have – both teams.

“It was one of those crazy, crazy games you get two or three times a season.

“But today you’ve seen two teams that need to defend better. Most definitely my team need to defend better.

“We’ve had to score four goals to draw a game of football at home.

“For the first 25 minutes, we probably played as well as we have all season and there were spells in the second half when we played some decent, flowing football, but we can’t defend like that.

“Brett (Williams) has come on and changed the game, but we were always going to face a bit of an onslaught from them and we didn’t handle it well enough, we really didn’t.

“But then give us a bit of credit for fighting back twice.”
EASTLEIGH: Graham Stack, Gavin Hoyte, Sam Wood (Sam Matthews, 82), Danny Holla…

Eastleigh 0-0 FC Halifax

Eastleigh kept a first clean sheet in 27 National League games in a goalless draw at home against FC Halifax.

Eastleigh: Graham Stack, Gavin Hoyte, Sam Wood, Sam Togwell (Mark Yeates, 77), Reda Johnson, Andrew Boyce, Ayo Obileye, Sam Matthews, Cavaghn Miley, Paul McCallum, Chris Zebroski (Ben Williamson, 65). Subs (not used): Ryan Broom, Danny Hollands, Ross Flitney.

Referee: Sam Purkiss.
Attendance: 1,825 (92 Halifax)
Reaction from Andy Hessenthaler:
REACTION: @EastleighFC boss Andy Hessenthaler reflects on goalless draw with @FCHalifaxTown — BBC Solent Sport (@solentsport) February 24, 2018

Torquay 1-2 Eastleigh

Eastleigh secured back-to-back wins with a 2-1 win at Torquay to make it six games unbeaten. Ross Flitney saved a penalty late in the game to help preserve victory after goals from Sam Matthews and Gavin Hoyte for the Spitfires.

Reaction from Andy Hessenthaler and Ross Flitney: