Bognor's new defender on his dark days at Pompey: There were times I thought I might quit

Joe Hancott says he is delighted to revive his football career with Bognor – but has admitted his injury hell almost made him quit.

Joe Hancott in his Pompey days / Picture: Graham Hunt
Joe Hancott in his Pompey days / Picture: Graham Hunt

As first reported last Friday, the 20-year-old left-back has put pen to paper for Bognor after ending a 12-year spell at Fratton Park.

Hancott spent a short loan period with the Rocks in 2019 and got a taste of the way manager Jack Pearce and coach Robbie Blake aim to play.

When his time ended at Pompey it was an easy decision to make, especially as he has seen former Pompey colleagues Dan Smith and Ethan Robb move to Bognor then get picked up by higher-placed clubs.

In a long stint sidelined with an ACL injury, Hancott considered quitting the game altogether.

He said: “I am really looking forward to joining up with the lads and playing for Bognor next season. Having spent time at the club I saw what it was all about and love the approach.

“I’ve also chatted with Dan and Ethan and seen how they have progressed and I am ready to give it another go. I definitely have some unfinished business and believe I have a lot to offer.

“For a period, I did struggle mentally when I did my ACL, it was so frustrating. I had to have two operations and it was hard. Yes, there were times when I thought I might quit. But now I am raring to go and can’t wait to get started.”

Hancott, who lives on the Isle of Wight, has found a job as a PE coach at a school and will combine that role with his non-league playing career.

Hancott made Pompey history in August 2017 when he became the Blues’ youngest post-war debutant aged 16 years and 161 days.

Bognor boss Jack Pearce said: “Joe’s a real prospect and it’s great to be able to welcome him to the squad. We believe we can help in on his journey and I am sure his development will continue with us.”

Rocks coach Robbie Blake, who worked with Hancott when both were at Pompey, described his Bognor loan debut against Haringey two years ago as ‘different class’.

Blake said Hancott had a bright future in the game and added: “Ethan’s move to Brentford is a reminder to our players that, if at first you don’t get a professional contract, you should never give up on your dream.”