Wonderful news for The Vikings, who now own their 'Obs' pitch!

Hakin United AFC

Players and supporters past and present of Hakin United Football Club were delighted with the wonderful news last week that The Vikings are now proud owners of their Observatory Ground in Hakin, known simply as ‘The Obs’, after purchasing it from Pembrokeshire Council.
From the time that they first obtained the chance to play there when the new council houses were built in the mid-1950s and it was provided as a recreation facility for the area, Hakin United had leased the ground – and had recently negotiated their latest extension when the chance to buy the field came through and the decision was made to accept the challenge of making it the club’s own for posterity.

Hakin United badgeA wonderful club to be part of

We spoke to Chris Tansey, who played for the club for many years and was then a great manager afterwards – and has been involved in the negotiations and, along with current chairman Lance Rutherford, has organised fund-raising applications.
“When I first joined Hakin United as a bright-eyed 14 year old in 1974,” Chris told us, “Alan Douglas Jones (aka) ‘Duggie’ was the Secretary/Treasurer and driving force behind the club, with a willing accomplice in Alan Roach as Chairman, who quietly and efficiently undertook any and all tasks and was still fully committed to HUFC right up until 2019, when he took ill and sadly passed away. Alan is still sorely missed by all his friends at ‘The Obs’.

“By the late 1970s, plans were well underway for a purpose-built clubhouse and changing rooms to replace the old green shed, which was achieved when the building was ready for the start of the 1980 season.
“At that stage there was a small bar and two changing rooms but we knew that we would have to look at other possibilities if the club was to achieve its full potential – and there followed a period of consolidation and fund-raising while the committee and members set about repaying the funding we received.

Juniors inspire the need for more growth

“However, by the early 1990s the junior section was flourishing under the late, great Joe Lennon and it was apparent that bigger and improved facilities were needed; hence the updating of the clubhouse to the fine facility it is today and the erecting of the new changing room.  

With regard to the juniors: they have been a major factor in the club’s development, with one achievement in many being the winning of the West Wales Cup for their age group three years in succession under Colin Fawcett and Daisy Picton.
Chris added: “A sub- committee headed by Jim Yeomans (Managing Director of main sponsor Manderwood Timber) was tasked to help with submitting a grant application, appointing architects and following a tender process appointing Austwell as contractors to deliver the building to specification.
“This was done and we will always be indebted to Chris Davies for his expertise and patience in delivering the project on time as we celebrated our first championship for 30 years when the changing rooms were officially opened in time for the 1997/98 season.

Never standing still after starting out in the 1920s
“Each year the trustees and committee have strived to improve our facilities, whether that be pitch maintenance, pitch barriers, replacing equipment or general building maintenance. One of our latest challenges was to finance the cost of the strong metal fencing around The Obs, whilst the council provided the same provision for the new primary school and nearby rugby club.”
It all seems a long way now from the 1920s when football was played via friendly matches that took place at ‘The Cocklebank’; so called because it was where the shellfish and other similar products, were processed before being sent elsewhere in the country.

Hakin United U16 Cup winners

Joining the Pembrokeshire League – and a top-division side now for 73 years

The team was still there after the Second World War and so when the Pembrokeshire Football League came into being in the club was officially formed so it could enter and they started out in the second division in the 1947/48 campaign.
A year later they won that section and were promoted to the top echelon, where their proud record is that they have remained there in the 73 intervening years and have won the league title 19 times and the Senior Cup on 12 occasions, plus the West Wales Intermediate cup in 1956/57, 1998/99 and 2003/4.
The push towards the hugely-respected club it is today was continued  in the mid-50s when the new council housing estate was built in Hakin and the Observatory Field was established for the use of the community – and Hakin started playing there, having leased the pitch from the council.

Chris Tansey and Scott Davies Many thanks due for amazing effort on and off the field

“The ethos of our club is to continually strive for improvement and for all members, players, parents, sponsors and our community to be proud of what HUFC achieves.

"The culmination of all this hard work is HUFC have been able to purchase the freehold of the Observatory field from PCC, whom we must thank for giving us the opportunity, which safeguards the future of HUFC in perpetuity and is a legacy that everyone who has ever been part of the HUFC family since we were officially formed in 1947 can be rightly proud of.

“Other long-serving officers of the club who deserve a mention:
Judith and Patrick Wheeler
Lance and Clare Rutherford
Jim Yeomans
Daisy Picton
Main sponsors since 1980 Manderwood Timber Eng.Ltd and each and every sponsor because without their support none of the above would be possible.

"Our greatest achievement is we are still in existence after 73 years and flourishing and providing sport and recreation for our Community, but we do enjoy our on field success!

“Many thanks to the Hubberston and Hakin Invest Local Forum @TNLComFund @BCTWales and @Pembrokeshire without whom the purchase of The Observatory Field site would have been impossible to achieve.

"The club thanks Chris Tansey and its trustees, Jim Yeomans, Patrick Wheeler, Alan Chase and Lance Rutherford for their work in securing the purchase. Thanks also go to @garethglewis @PriceKelway solicitors, known to many in football circles, for making the purchase a painless process.
“Having occupied ‘The Obs’ for so many years, to know that the site has been secured for the club, and community at large, for future generations fills all involved with a great sense of pride and achievement. We always regarded The Obs. as home and, now, it really is.”

Hakin United almost 100 years ago