The only guarantee in a coach's tenure, they say, is knowing they will get the boot, sooner or later.

For Building King Havelock North Wanderers mentor/player Chris Greatholder that has come, somewhat innocuously, before they begin their Lotto Federation League campaign in Hastings today.

While pleased with his form and fitness for almost a decade, a grinning Greatholder acknowledges the squad this year is showing the mettle required to get the job done before they kick off at midday against Peggy Gordons New Plymouth Rangers.

"We've been waiting for a couple of years for these youth to kick me out almost so I'm really pleased that, I think, this is the year when we'll have some breakout moments from these kids we've invested in," he says, after his troops had a first-round bye in the Fed League in the opening round last weekend.


The Wanderers, who pride themselves on nurturing home-grown talent, were relegated from the premier winter competition, the Ultra Football Central League, last year after a season.

"We have good people around and we're strong on and off the field," Greatholder says of the villagers who have acquired the services of South Africa-born striker/winger Tyrique Stoltenkamp and Lapalapa Toni, of Samoa, who lives here and works for Silver Ferns Farms.

Stoltenkamp has arrived here from the United States and will play today but will miss the next three rounds because he will make a trip to South Africa to visit family before returning.

"With Lapalapa it's a happy coincidence. [He's] here with his family and a very good striker," he says.

Bjorn Christenson, who left the Havelock North stable to play for Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers in the Central League, returns after concussion robbed him of a good part of the elite season.

"BJ's looking good and he's enjoying his football again after an in-and-out season with Hawke's Bay United," he says of the former Havelock skipper and attacking midfielder.

"We just want to wrap some cuddles around him to make sure he's in a good space to enjoy his football."

Jerome Groot also returns after four years of tertiary studies in Wellington where he played for Island Bay in the second-tier Capital League.


Liam Shackleton is attending Waikato University and Campbell Whitworth varsity in Wellington but the pair are committed to the Wanderers' cause.

The breakthrough boys are Charlie Bayly, Guy Reeves, Sam Waddington and Luca Barclay.

"Our philosophy is the most important thing," Greatholder says. "We want to grow our own so we want Havelock and Hastings boys coming through to have a platform to show their stuff and go on to bigger things in the game."

Consequently he feels that's why this team wil suffer at times because the intention is to inject as many teenagers as they can in the reservoir of talent.

"We think it's sustainable so most of line up comes from within and most them are youth."

Greatholder says Solomon Island striker Gagame Feni wasn't approached and suspected he was about to sign with table-topping Wellington Olympic in the Central League.

"There are no monetary payments and there's nothing else going on so we're a club that does it all from within," he says, revealing Anthony Floyd was back in a commercial capacity to lure some sponsors.

From a coaching capacity, Greatholder feels they are stronger as a unit than last season despite losing a few players.

"We want to win the league so we're not making any bones about that but we want to do it in a way that suits our philosophy."

2017 Fed League champions Rangers beat Ray White Hokowhitu firsts 4-2 last weekend. Alexander Electric Napier Marist lost 8-2 away to Watsons Palmerston North Marist.

Havelock North Wanderers: Freddy Heidekker (GK), James Barclay, Kurtis Maney, Campbell Whitworth, Che Jesson Bentley, Charlie Bayly, Jerome Groot (c), Kenny Willox, Guy Reeves, Sam Waddington, Luca Barclay, Chris Greatholder, Bjorn Christenson, Lapalapa Toni, Jared Bloor, Tyrique Stoltenkamp, Tesco Grunwald, Ben Foxall, Liam Shackleton, Tom Hooper (RGK).

Co-coaches: Chris Greatholder, Dion Adams.
Manager: Tony Simon.