Ebbsfleet United unveil the signing of Ben Chapman
EBBSFLEET UNITED have unveiled their eighth summer signing as Aylesford-born midfielder Ben Chapman put pen to paper for the relegated Vanarama National League South club, now managed by German Dennis Kutrieb.
The 21-year-old has played much of his football in Kent after leaving Crystal Palace as a youngster, going on to play for Bearsted and Gillingham, where he turned professional.
He spent last season with Dulwich Hamlet and is a highly-versatile player capable of slotting into numerous positions in midfield as well as right-back.
He made 24 appearances for Gavin Rose’s side last season.
“There’s some big clubs in this division,” Chapman told Ebbsfleet United’s website.
“We were watched by 2,000 regularly at Dulwich, you’ve got Maidstone, a few local teams for big derbies like Dartford maybe. Those will be big crowds, either here or at their place, so those will be good games to look forward to and with the standard at this level, attractive football too.
“I like to stay local if I can, play for a local team and obviously Ebbsfleet is that to me so these derbies will definitely be ones to look forward to.”
Chapman has been on director of football Steve Lovell’s radar for a while, having been handed his Gillingham debut by the former Gills boss in 2017.
“Steve’s kept in contact and he came back to me when last season stopped about the opportunity,” added Chapman.
“Ebbsfleet’s a local club to me, it’s a big club and the set-up here is somewhere I can develop.
“It was the offer that had everything to make me want to make the move and it is a club you gravitate towards when the interest is there.
“Looking ahead to this season and where I am in my career, it was the best club for me. I’ve played here a few times and it’ll be nice to come back and do so as a home player.”
Chapman was offered a contract extension by League One side Gillingham last summer but he opted to play more regularly at a lower level for the experience.
“I decided not to sign at Priestfield again in the end. I thought I’d drop a couple of leagues and get some men’s football and regular game time. It’s hard for you to play proper football in the under 23s and it’s hard to break into first teams where you’re playing a few games here and there and then back to the 23s.
“I enjoyed a loan at Faversham Town, it was a good club and I learned a lot from that before going back to Gills.
“So dropping down with Dulwich Hamlet, it was still that same kind of standard of football I’d been used to but you get that physicality and you get to play that way yourself. Lots of players have done it that way, make their way lower down and bounce back up the Leagues.
“The National League South was a little more physical than I thought it was going to be at the start but it didn’t faze me. I worked at it, it was a good standard and I really enjoyed the first season I had and I’m looking now to develop that and push Ebbsfleet on.”
Chapman added: “Promotion’s my goal. I can’t say any more than that really. A team that drops down, the best thing they can do is bounce straight back up and you get that feeling from the management, the staff and the players we’re bringing in.”
Visit Ebbsfleet United’s website: www.ebbsfleetunited.co.uk