Johnny Harvey: Hi-His have a buzz that Edinburgh haven’t

Johnny Harvey. Pic: Greg Macvean
Johnny Harvey. Pic: Greg Macvean
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New Haddington Athletic boss Johnny Harvey has spoken of his decision to leave McBookie South Division champions Edinburgh United – pointing to the profile of his new club as the main reason for the switch.

Harvey led United into the Premier League in his first full season in management, with the Paties Road side having finished bottom of the table the two seasons prior to his arrival.

On the face of it is a step down for ambitious Harvey, who had begun planning for life in the Premier League with United as soon as last season ended by approaching players with a view to signing.

But he revealed he wasn’t getting anywhere with his recruitment drive.

“Over the last few weeks I’ve become quite frustrated,” he said. “I had spoken to around 40 players over the last two months and tried to sell the club to them, but the players – mostly on the fringes of Super League sides – didn’t want to make that step down. People just weren’t buying into Edinburgh, that’s the way I felt. And that’s telling me that I’ve taken Edinburgh as far as I can take them.”

Joined by assistant Gary Small and goalkeeping coach John Menzies at his new club, Harvey believes the Millfield Park outfit are better suited to attract the calibre of player that they’ll need if they wish to make a crack of the Premier League in the future.

He said: “Haddington already have the nucleus of a very good squad and if I can add a few players then who’s to say I can’t get them promoted over the next few seasons. Once we do eventually get into the Premier League, I feel Haddington are better placed to be able to attract a better quality of player.

“The club has a great town feel and the support of the whole town behind it, whereas at Edinburgh it was hard to attract people to the ground. At Haddington there is a right buzz.”

He added: “It’s not been an easy decision. I hardly slept for a few days. I just feel that longer term it is better for me to go to Haddington.”