Dryden's departure marks end of an era - Cugley
|Record breaking striker James Dryden
has been talking about his sensational move from Folkestone Invicta to
arch-rivals Dover Athletic earlier in the week, writes Richard Murrill - www.folkestoneinvicta.co.uk
The 25-year-old whose expected to feature for the Whites at Whyteleafe tomorrow, said: "I would like to thank everyone connected with Folkestone Invicta for what they have done for my career, especially people like (manager) Neil Cugley, (chairman), Bob Dix, Dave Williams, al the backroom staff such as Neil and Sally Pilcher and all of the supporters who have always been very good to me.
"I am now looking forward to a new challenge at Dover but hopefully will be in a position where I could return to play for Invicta at some point in the future.
“It was always a privilege to play for Folkestone Invicta and I was very proud to become the club’s record appearance holder and goalscorer.
"I had many good times at Invicta and would like to thank the supporters for making me Player of the Year three times in four seasons.
"I hope that they can understand my reasons for going, although it hasn’t even really sunk in for me as everything has happened in such a rush.
"I am sorry in many respects that things happened so quickly and that I have so far been unable to say goodbye to my team mates at Invicta who are an excellent bunch of lads,” he added.
“I hope that Folkestone Invicta are successful in the future and am sure that they will stay up this season with the players that they have. Theirs will always be the first result I look for each week,” added Dryden.
Invicta’s record senior goalscorer and appearance holder Dryden scored both goals for Invicta in their 2-1 win away to Wealdstone at Northwood last Friday night but met with Dover officials the next day and was unveiled to the club’s supporters before their home match against Fleet Town later that afternoon.
The 25-year-old’s Invicta contract was due to expire at the end of the season and he has recently been linked with a move to Margate.
As part of the deal, young 23-year-old striker Walid Matata has moved in the opposite direction to join the Cheriton Road club and is expected to make his debut for their home clash against Staines Town tomorrow.
Dryden made a record 270 starting appearances for Invicta, with a further 42 as a substitute, scoring a record 114 goals. He broke the club’s goalscoring record, ironically, in a 1-0 win away to Dover Athletic on Easter Monday of last season as Dover were relegated to the Ryman League Division One.
Dryden made his full Invicta debut away to Burnham in December 1999 and recorded a personal best 29 goals in all competitions for Invicta last season.
He was rewarded with a testimonial season by the club for 2005-06 to commemorate ten seasons at Invicta, although his testimonial match itself was blighted by controversy back in August when his new club Dover Athletic opted to send a second string side, with Matata opening the scoring for them before Invicta went on to win 3-1.
Matata, who attended Invicta’s game away to Wealdstone on Friday night, joined Dover during November 2004 and is a fast and tricky forward who previously played for Milton Keynes.
Speaking about Dryden’s move, Invicta manager Neil Cugley said “I am disappointed that Jim turned down the chance to extend his contract with us and disappointed that he felt that it was time for him to move on.
"Obviously he had offers from various parties but we are pleased that with this deal we have been able to bring in another striker (Walid Matata) which I feel is very important.
"I would like to wish Jim all the best as I have known him now for a long time during which time he has become a good friend.”
“I am disappointed to see him go but we have to get on with things as a club.
"I have lost many good players over the years at the different clubs I have been at and although losing Scott Lindsey and Jim means that it is something of an end of an era, it is now a case of just getting on with things.
"Walid is a very exciting player, very quick, and someone whom I hope will go on to become a firm favourite at Folkestone Invicta.
"He won’t be the only signing that we make in the coming weeks, although we won’t be rushing in to things. I thought that the team played well to win away to Wealdstone on Friday night, with James Everitt coming in and playing well in midfield and his brother Micheal is due to return to the side from injury soon as well.
"The first team, reserve team and youth team all won at the weekend so there is hardly a crisis at the club!” added Cugley.
Folkestone Invicta v Staines Town
Ryman Premier League
Saturday 17th December 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Buzzines Stadium, Cheriton Road, Folkestone