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Hippolyte ends Maidenhead United reign

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Johnson “Drax” Hippolyte finished his reign as Maidenhead United manager by winning the Berks Senior Cup Final against Aylesbury United

Hippolyte was appointed by then chairman Una Loughrey in October 2006 following the dismissal of Carl Taylor to become the sixth person to take responsibility for the first team in three and a half years including Richie Goddard’s spells as caretaker.

Eight and a half years in the hot seat is testament itself to Drax’s role, alongside those in the boardroom, for stabilising the club after a turbulent period at the start of the century.
 Hippolyte hit the ground running on arrival, the Southern League campaign taking a back seat, as he guided his new team to a first appearance in the FA Cup first round proper for twenty four years, going out of the competition after a replay against Stafford Rangers in front of a full house at York Road.
With the inevitable turnover of players league form stuttered initially but an amazing run of form from mid January saw the team gradually climb the table and make the play offs on the last weekend of the season.

An unforgettable week then ensued, away wins at King’s Lynn and Team Bath leading to promotion, the season ending with defeat in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup Final at Wycombe against MK Dons.

Like his predecessors Drax struggled in his first season of Conference South football with the Magpies, but the FA Cup first round was reached again albeit ending in a depressing 4-1 defeat at Horsham. What was to become a trademark late run of form in the league then secured safety, Drax being named April’s manager of the month.

The team kicked on in 2008/09 finishing in sixth place, a best ever finish for the club since reformation after World War One. Financial constraints then limited league ambitions, the rest of Drax’s time being preoccupied with relegation battles which were all just about successful, although a reprieve required in 2012.

The Berks & Bucks Cup was won in 2010 in a thrilling 3-2 win over Wycombe Wanderers at Marlow, the Chairboys taking revenge by reversing the scoreline in the final twelve months later at Chesham.

History was made in November 2011 when Football League opposition made a first ever visit to York Road for an FA Cup First Round tie in the form of Aldershot Town. United led through an Anthony Thomas goal for much of the game only for a late equaliser to save the Shots, who went onto win the replay 3-0.

Drax’s best asset was his man management which saw him turn round a string of players’ careers, leading to moves up the football pyramid. These included Jamal Fyfield (York City), Devante McKain (Gillingham), Richard Pacquette (York City), and Alex Wall (Luton Town).

His boundless optimism and love of the game meant the decision to part company with United was not an easy one for either party and all at the club wish Drax and his backroom team of Dereck Brown, David Gumbs and Max Bangura, the very best of luck for their future career in the game.
Source: www.pitchero.com/clubs/maidenheadunited


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