Maidstone United retain Jack Richards: I never imagined when I joined the club that I’d end up playing for them in the National League

Tuesday 20th June 2017

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith continues his squad re-building by signing former Chelmsford City midfielder Josh Rees.


The 23-year-old, Hemel Hempstead born midfielder helped the Essex club reach the Vanarama National League South play-off final after they finished in fourth-place in the table.

Rod Stringer’s side, renowned for their direct style of football, defeated Dartford in the play-off semi-final, but their promotion hopes were dashed by ten-man Ebbsfleet United, whom won 2-1 at Stonebridge Road in the promotion final.

“I’m really pleased, he’s someone we’ve kept an eye on over the course of last season when he was playing for Chelmsford,” Smith told

“He had a really good year and to get the opportunity to get him on board is brilliant.

“He’s a young, enthusiastic guy and he wants to prove a point to himself and to others.”

Rees is delighted to get the chance to play in the league above for Bromley, whom have finished in fourteenth-place and tenth-place in their first two campaigns in the Vanarama National League.

Rees said: “I’m really excited by the challenge ahead.  I got the call from the gaffer a couple of weeks ago and I was straight in the next day to try and agree something and thankfully today it’s all sorted and I’m really excited.”

Rees began his career at Arsenal before leaving in 2013, before signing for Nottingham Forest, where he spent time in the National League playing for Nuneaton Town and Torquay United.  He has also played for Braintree Town.

MAIDSTONE UNITED boss Jay Saunders has extended the contract of Academy player Jack Richards, 18.

Richards earned his first deal a year ago after impressing Saunders with his performances in the National League Youth Alliance.

After loan spells at East Grinstead Town (Ryman South) and Sevenoaks Town (Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division), he returned to the club in April and made substitute appearances in the games against promoted side’s Forest Green Rovers and champions Lincoln City.

Saunders told “Jack’s time at the Academy is coming to an end but his time with the club is far from over.

“He’s come on a lot over the last year and the experience of men’s football at East Grinstead and Sevenoaks has done him the world of good.

“He’s definitely one for the future and being in and around the squad, training three times a week with them, will only help him further.

“It’s great to see a lad come through our youth teams and into the first team – it’s something as a club we’re keen to see. He’s here on merit and hopefully he’ll use this opportunity to push on and show me what he can do.

Richards, who joined Maidstone United at the age of 12, added: “I’ve been at Maidstone since the under 13s and all I want to do is play here.  People talk about playing in the big leagues but I want to be playing for Maidstone United and that’s the aim at the minute.

“I never imagined when I joined the club that I’d end up playing for them in the National League.  I came over from a local club (Real 60) that all my mates played for and we ended up as Maidstone and won the league ever year. It’s been a good give or six years.”

DOVER ATHLETIC manager Chris Kinnear has made his fifth summer signing by bringing Connor Essam back to Crabble on a two-year deal.

The central defender played 15 games, scoring once, while on loan from their Vanarama National League rivals Eastleigh last season.

Essam, 24, captained Dover Athletic during his first spell with the club in the 2014-15 season.  He signed for Eastleigh last summer after joining them from then League Two side Leyton Orient.

Eassam has previously played for Dartford, Crawley Town, Luton and Gillingham.

Essam joins Kinnear’s summer recruits Manny Parry, Kane Richards, Mitch Brundle and Jamie Allen.

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