Haverfordwest County AFC can confirm that Club Brugge have met a release clause in the contract of First Team Manager, Nicky Hayen, and he has agreed personal terms to become the Head Coach of its Under-23’s team, Club NXT, who play in the 1B Pro League – the second division in Belgium.
Nicky arrived at the club in January after most recently having coaching experiences in the Belgian Pro League with Waasland-Beveren and hometown club Sint-Truidense V.V., for whom he represented nearly 250 times as a player.
Upon his arrival, the team were sat in the relegation zone in the JD Cymru Premier, and were in danger of dropping out of the league. However, the 41-year-old was able to have an immediate positive impact.
Our performances saw a sharp upturn, with the team going on to set new records for our biggest home and away victories in the Welsh top-flight, with a 6-0 win over Aberystwyth Town at Park Avenue coming just three days after the 6-1 success against Cefn Druids at the Ogi Bridge Meadow. The team would go on to record to a victory by the same scoreline over the Ancients at The Rock in April.
The extent of Nicky’s impact was illustrated by the fact that, heading into the final day of the season, the club were in with a realistic chance of recording a seventh-placed finish, and topping the JD Cymru Premier Play-Off Conference.
While a 2-1 defeat to Cardiff Metropolitan meant we eventually finished 10th, there can be no downplaying the turnaround that led to us being in such a position.
Commenting on Nicky’s departure, chairman Rob Edwards stated: “I am desperately disappointed to lose Nicky. His achievements and impact on and off the pitch in such a short space of time were remarkable, and justified the faith we showed in him when we appointed him.
“As disappointed as I am to lose Nicky, I fully appreciate his reasoning. None more so than having the opportunity to work for the biggest club in your home country, and being so close to your family.”
The club would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Nicky for his efforts during his time with us in Pembrokeshire, and we wish him all the best back in Belgium.
With the start of pre season imminent, the club will be making a statement shortly regarding its search for Nicky’s replacement.