‘We knew we had a natural winner on our hands’ - Hurst’s potential was clear from day one
PUBLISHED: 09:44 04 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:44 04 June 2018
Boston United vice-chairman Neil Kempster says he knew from day one that ambitious young manager Paul Hurst was destined for big things.
The 43-year-old was appointed just the 16th permanent boss in Ipswich Town’s 82-year professional history last week.
His climb to the second rung of English football’s ladder has seen him work in all five of the divisions below with Ilkeston Town, Boston United, Grimsby Town and Shrewsbury Town.
Reflecting on Hurst’s arrival at then Northern Premier League side Boston in 2009, Kempster said: “He’d not long come to the end of his playing career (with Rotherham) and, along with Rob Scott, had just done very well to get Ilkeston promoted in our league.
“When we advertised for a new manager that summer they put their names forwards (due to Ilkeston being in financial difficulties). We got them in and it was clear at the interview we had natural winners on our hands.
“Paul was very amicable and friendly – just a decent guy. He was also very professional, very thorough and very hard working. He was always looking at ways to improve himself and the team, even when things were going well.
“That season we ended up with three trophies – winning the play-offs, Northern Premier League Challenge Cup and the Lincolnshire Shield. And by the time they left the following March we were in the Conference North play-off places.
“When they moved on to Grimsby at a higher level it was with our best wishes. No disrespect to us, but they are a bigger club and Paul never made a secret of the fact he was ambitious.
“That’s football isn’t it? The most difficult thing as a board is finding the right manager and when you get it right at a lower level there is always a chance they will move up the ladder.
“We could all see, very early on, that they (Scott is now part of senior recruitment at Watford) were destined for big things.
“I’m just delighted we helped Paul on his journey to this point. I am sure he will be a success at Ipswich. Who knows, this may be another stepping stone to something even bigger further down the line? I’m sure he will be a success at Portman Road.”