** Picture: Simon Parker/SP Action Images
Kwan Browne will swap Hampstead & Westminster to take up the men’s head coach role at Southgate next season after a successful six-year spell with the former club.
Speaking of his appointment, the former Trinidad & Tobago international said: “It’s a great opportunity to join Southgate, a sleeping giant in club hockey, they are looking to take the next step and I look forward to help taking them to the next level.
“I had a great time with Hampstead & Westminster, really enjoyed it and wouldn’t change anything at all. It just came to a point where after six years in charge, it felt like the right time for some change and I was fortunate enough that Southgate was looking for a new head coach and to take the next step.
“I just see it as a no brainer, what a great opportunity for a club that is in London just within the M25 with probably the best facilities in England. It is a club I could see myself being part of, it’s a great opportunity to be part of a club looking to take the next step, helping to take it to the next level and there’s a great infrastructure in place to do that.
“Also, whilst it is not the most important thing I am living nearby, just twenty minutes from the club which is great. Lots of my school kids and colleagues from work are all at the club and I can see that the social side which is probably the most important thing to me being fantastic and if I can combine that with achieving great things on the pitch then that is a proper win-win for me.”
For Hampstead & Westminster chairman Jonny Witt, he paid tribute to the coach who had such huge success with the club.
“Although it is always sad to part ways with individuals who have given so much and been such a big part of the success of the club, it is also a time to look back and celebrate those successes,” he said.
“It is easy to forget that when Kwan arrived Hampstead and Westminster had just avoided relegation by the narrowest of margins and were perhaps the closest they had ever been to losing their status as one of the few ‘ever-present’ teams in the National Premier League.
“Kwan informed us that he believed they could win the league and he set about making changes and bringing in new faces with that aim in mind. That first season he led the team to the playoffs for the first time in our history, the next season the same story making it to the final in the play-offs but securing European qualification in doing so.
“In the following season 2018/19 Kwan achieved what he set out to do and HWHC were crowned champions of England for the first time in our history after beating Surbiton in the final of the play offs.
In the EHL, his side overcame HGC in Barcelona to become the first English side in six years to beat a Dutch club. In six EHL fixtures, they only once lost in normal time, winning three, drawing two – losing on shoot-out – and losing once.
Witt added: “Those are the measurable successes that Kwan brought to the club, what is immeasurable are his passion, enthusiasm, professionalism and atmosphere that he brought. The past 5 or 6 seasons, the whole club has moved from strength to strength in every area and we know this is not a coincidence.
“On behalf of all of the club: Kwan – a heartful thank you. You made history for us and we will always be grateful for your delivery of that first Champions of England trophy and those European excursions.
“We all have many fond memories of your time at Hampstead, whether those are hockey memories or Notting Hill Carnival related!”