Friday 02nd April 2004

Beeney spurns Chelsea

Mark Beeney, manager of Dr Martens League Eastern Division club Sittingbourne, got an unexpected reminder of the big time when he was asked to play for Premiership money-bags Chelsea's reserve side.

The 36-year-old former Leeds United and Brighton goalkeeper, who coaches Chelsea's young keepers, was asked to play for the Stamford Bridge side when a goalkeeping crisis left the club with only two fit custodians.

With first-choice Carlo Cudicini out injured, Marco Ambrosio was named in the Blues' side to face Arsenal in the Champions League, with Neil Sullivan the substitute.

With their other keepers either injured or on-loan, Chelsea were without a senior goalkeeper for their reserve game with Wimbledon.

Beeney said: "They phoned me and said am I available to play or do I know anyone.

"The same message went out to all the coaches and I took our young keeper Kevin Fewell along, but Chelmsford City's keeper Paul Nicholls played in the end.

"I would have done if they couldn't have found anyone else, but to be fair I'm past it these days!"

Sittingbourne's current number one Fewell did at least get a brush with the Premiership's elite.

Beeney added: "It gave him a day training up here and it's good for lads at our level to see what it's like at a place like Chelsea."

Meanwhile, former Chatham Town player Adam Douglas is likely to start on the bench for Sittingbourne when they take on promotion-chasing Kent rivals Folkestone Invicta at Bourne Park on Saturday.

The midfielder joined the Brickies this week, continuing an exodus from Maidstone Road that has seen Kevin Fewell, Joe Dowley and Jon Neal all make the short trip down the A2.

Sittingbourne vs Folkestone Invicta, Saturday 3 April 2004, 3.00pm @ Bourne Park, Dr Martens League Eastern Division