Hastings lad leads Saints into Premier

A HASTINGS born and raised footballer has led Southampton into the Barclays Premier League.

Dean Hammond was team captain of the Saints side which completed back-to-back promotions with a 4-0 victory at home to Coventry City on Saturday.

The 29-year-old made 42 league appearances, 12 of them as a substitute, this season as Southampton finished runners-up to Reading in the npower Championship.

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One-time West St Leonards County Primary School and William Parker Sports College pupil Hammond began playing youth football with local club Spartan.

The energetic central midfielder was snapped up by Brighton & Hove Albion at a young age and went on to make 136 league appearances for the Seagulls.

Hammond secured a £250,000 move to Colchester United in January 2008 and captained the U’s before joining Saints in August 2009 for an undisclosed fee.

There was also a local connection to the champions because Reading are managed by Brian McDermott, who once upon a time played for the now defunct Stamco team.