Folkestone Invicta sell Scott Heard to Dagenham & Redbridge: CEO Paul Egan: As a part-time club we will not stand in a player’s way if he has a chance to better himself and forge a career in the game

Sunday 16th October 2016

FOLKESTONE INVICTA boss Neil Cugley is on the verge of sending another player off to the professional ranks.

Dynamic midfielder Scott Heard is on the becoming the club’s third talented youngster to make it into the full-time game after the Ryman Premier League club accepted a bid from Vanarama National League side Dagenham & Redbridge.

Manager Neil Cugley told “Dagenham & Redbridge have been keeping an eye on Heardy for quite a while now and though we may well miss his drive and energy we cannot stand in the way of anyone offered the chance of a full-time football career.”

Heard signed from then fellow Ryman League Division One South side Whitstable Town for a nominal fee less than 12 months ago and was a key member of Folkestone’s championship winning side last season and has started all 17 games so far this season in the number eight shirt that he had virtually made his own.

Chief executive Cliff Egan said that Folkestone Invicta received a bid from the Daggers a few weeks ago and Cugley has worked hard to get the best deal for the club.

Mr Egan said: “Scott currently works for a supermarket chain and is relishing the chance to go full-time and earn a living from the game.

“He has done brilliantly for us since we signed him last year and goes with our best wishes after helping us to beat Kingstonian in his farewell appearance yesterday.

“As a part-time club we will not stand in a player’s way if he has a chance to better himself and forge a career in the game – but clearly it is our duty to make sure we get the best possible deal for Folkestone Invicta Football Club – which I believe we have done.

Heard follows trail-blazer and local product Johan Ter Horst, who has now been with Premier League Hull City for three years and fellow striker Harry Smith, who is now at League One side Millwall.

Smith’s strike form with Ryman League Division One South side Sittingbourne some 10 months ago saw him score 13 goals to help seal Folkestone Invicta’s title winning season, before earning a deal to sign for Neil Harris’s side in the summer.

Cugley added: “Nothing’s signed just yet, but it should all be sorted out on Monday and it goes without saying that we wish Scott all the very best for the future.

Mr Egan added: “I must take this opportunity to congratulate Neil on signing Harry Smith and Scott Heard, both of whom we signed for small fees – which raised some eyebrows at the time.

“But not only did these lads play their full part in our promotion from Ryman South to the Ryman Premier earlier this year, they have also turned out to be very good investments for this football club.

“Neil has always had a good eye for a player as these two deals have proved.”

Meanwhile, coach Jason Lillis, a former Football League striker with Gillingham, Maidstone United and Cambridge United, is moving to America to take up a new coaching opportunity in Waterville, Maine.

Head of sport at a school in the Canterbury area, Lillis, 47, takes up a role as director of all pro-soccer working with college youngsters from their early years up to adult level.

The former Lordswood boss said: “It’s an opportunity I’m really looking forward to.  I’ve loved with it Invicta. Working with Neil Cugley and Roland Edge, we soon build up a great working relationship. But this is a new challenge, a new emphasis, for me.”

Cugley said: “It’s been great working and getting to know Jason and it’s good to see people move on in life.

“I don’t think any of us will ever forget last season when we finally got up into the Premier Division and we obviously all wish him well.

“When he got his UEFA A coaching licence, I think we all knew he would be moving on, sooner or later.

The coach’s departure leaves some money available in his wage budget and Cugley says he can now look at a number of options, the most likely being to bring in an experienced new face in a player-coach role.

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