I wouldn't celebrate if I scored against Tonbridge Angels, says Lewes striker Luke Blewden

Friday 09th May 2014
MAIDSTONE UNITED manager Jay Saunders has unveiled the signing of winger Matt Bodkin from their Ryman Premier League rivals Margate.

Bodkin, 30, has been at Hartsdown Park for the past three seasons – making more than 125 appearances for the club.

He was an ever-present during the 2013-2014 season and recently picked up the players’ player and supporters’ player awards.

Saunders told www.maidstoneunited.co.uk: “One of my summer targets was an experienced midfielder and I am delighted to have secured Matt’s signature.

“He knows this level of football really well and was part of the Dover Athletic team that won the Ryman Premier in 2009.

“He’s an exciting player, a great addition to the squad and I can’t wait to see him in a Maidstone shirt.”

Bodkin began his career as a trainee with Nottingham Forest.  After turning professional he joined Gillingham and from there he entered the non-league game with spells at clubs including Welling United, Thurrock and Grays Athletic.

Saunders, meanwhile, has issued his retained list, after finishing in seventh-place in the Ryman Premier League table.

Saunders has been targeting new additions, has been speaking to the current squad about their future with the club.

Some are confirmed for next season, some invited back for pre-season training, talks are on-going with a few, and inevitably at this time of year – a few have been released.

With their deals already agreed, Frannie Collin, Alex Flisher, Jack Harris, Tom Mills, Jack Parkinson, Steve Watt and Lee Worgan will be playing for the club next season.

Also confirmed for a return are Will Godmon, Dan Parkinson, Michael Phillips, Charley Robertson and Jack Sullivan.

Dan Johnson and Ross Bassan, academy players who spent time with Ryman League Division One South play-off winners Leatherhead, are also vying for a squad place.

Four players who spent time out this season with illness or injuries – Nathan Campbell, Richard Davies, Rory Hill and Orlando Smith – have been given the opportunity to stake their claim for a return.

Talks are on-going with Zac Attwood, Alex Brown, Stephen Butcher, Elliott Cox and Fabio Saraiva.

Bidding farewell to the Gallagher Stadium are Kiernan Hughes-Mason and Jerrome Sobers.

Hughes-Mason was the most recent addition, signing from Welling United in mid-March. Sobers completed a full season with the Stones having joined the season before last from Bromley. During this campaign he made 38 appearances.

Saunders said: “This is always a busy time of year but I am keen to get the nucleus of the squad sorted as soon as possible. It has meant some tough decisions – it’s never easy releasing players who you’ve got to know very well.

“They don’t want to get that phone call, just as much as you don’t want to make it. By getting things done early, players know where they are, and for those who are leaving, it gives them time to find a new club.

“There are key areas of the squad I am looking to strengthen and I’ve been speaking to one or two players that I am keen to bring in. We’re also getting calls from players at Ryman level or above who’d like the opportunity to play for Maidstone United. I am hoping to announce one or two new names in the next week or so.”

The club are hosting a first team trial on Tuesday 17 June. The session starts at 18:15, with registration from 17:45.

To apply, please email your football CV to info@maidstoneunited.co.uk  by Friday 13 June. Only applicants invited to trial will be contacted.

MARGATE have unveiled three additions to their squad ahead of the upcoming Ryman Premier League campaign.

The Gate finished in eleventh-place with 64 points from 46 games and big things are expected from the Kent club next season.

Hastings born goalkeeper Nikki Bull, 32, has agreed a one year deal to remain a Margate player after a successful stint between the posts towards the end of last season.

Bull who has previously played for Aldershot Town and Wycombe Wanderers in the Football League and brings vast experience to Terry Brown's squad.

Goalkeeper Craig Holloway, who finished the season at Dartford, has been released by Brown.
The club can also confirm it has agreed a deal with Hayes & Yeading United to sign Luke Williams, 24.

The midfielder has scored a career total of 24 goals in 120 appearances.

The Blues can also confirm that Striker Jason Prior, 25, has joined the club from relegated Skrill Premier Side Dartford.

Prior, 25, joins the club having spent the end of last season at Gosport Borough in the Skrill South.

Prior's former clubs include AFC Wimbledon, Dartford, Gosport Borough and Bognor Regis where he netted 95 goals in 121 appearances.

Margate chairman Bob Laslett told www.margate-fc.co.uk: “I am delighted with these signings. We will benefit from these significant deals which will only enhance the clubs ambition to win promotion this season.”

TONBRIDGE ANGELS have lost striker Luke Blewden, who has signed for Lewes.

The Angels unveiled former Sutton United head coach Steve McKimm, 38, as their new manager on Thursday, after replacing Tommy Warrilow.

Tonbridge Angels will play Lewes in the Ryman Premier League next season after losing their Conference South status after three years following relegation.

Tonbridge resident Blewden scored 12 goals from 24 starts for Lewes last season during a successful loan spell at The Dripping Pan.

Blewden told www.lewesfc.com: “It’ll be a little weird playing against Tonbridge for the first time next season but I’m a Lewes player and want to do what’s best for us.

“I’ve got to be honest and say I wouldn’t celebrate if I scored against them.”


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