Our supporters are tremendous, says promotion chasing Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley
The club needed £10,000 to keep the players, who have shot them towards the end of season Ryman League Division One South play-offs, a target which everyone at Cheriton Road is anxious to see come to fruition.
In just three weeks since the appeal went out, Cugley says that the supporters have been very generous indeed.
The club launched both a one-off (lifetime) Golden Season Ticket at £1,000 and also a renewed effort from the Friends Of Folkestone Invicta at £100 per head, both of which have been well supported.
Cugley told www.folkestoneinvictafc.co.uk: “Our supporters are tremendous. We’ve had more than 80 per cent of the money in already and I’ve got promises for the rest.
“Even away at Whitstable on Saturday people were giving me money towards our target - it’s been heart-warming and really encouraging for everyone who works so hard for this club.
“We shouldn’t have any problems keeping this team together now and I’ve even been able to juggle the budget around to afford to bring Ratty Everitt back to help us on the run-in.”
Invicta have completed the re-signing of popular local lad James Everitt from Ramsgate to help them through the remaining 15 games of their promotion bid.
The 26-year-old, who grew up through Folkestone’s youth section, left Cheriton Road around 18 months ago and has since had spells with Hythe Town and Whitstable Town before joining the Rams.
The player whose goals helped Invicta to promotion via the play-offs in 2009/10 had been the subject of a seven day approach by manager Cugley and he teams up again with elder brother Micheal and midfielder Michael Yianni, both of whom returned to the club last autumn.
“We’ve had four or five players come back to us after some time away, so we must be doing something right,” said Cugley.
The boss had been reluctant to commit himself to confirming the younger Everitt’s probable return before last weekend’s game at Whitstable but added: “We’ve had a chance to sort things out now and I’m delighted to have him back.
“His ability to cover a number of positions could prove invaluable in the run-in towards the play-offs.
“He’s an established and experienced Ryman League player now and he’s got himself much fitter than he was when we left us.
“He knows he'll have to fight for a place in the side, but Ratty’s a good lad to have around the club, he’s local of course, and we know what we get from him. It’s up to him to show us enough to want to keep him next season too, of course.”
Cugley will now shelve interest in a second player that he made a seven day approach for last week. “Now we’ve got Ratty, I’m more than happy for the time being.
“But we may look at the situation before the transfer deadline at the end of this month, depending on how things go between now and then.”
Everitt goes straight into the squad for Wednesday’s trip to league leaders Peacehaven & Telscombe, the first of two difficult games for Invicta this week with Ray Turner’s Faversham Town the visitors to Cheriton Road on Saturday.
Thinking back to last weekend’s slog in the mud to a 1-1 draw at Whitstable, Cugley said: “It was disappointing to drop a couple of points of course and their goal was a poor one from our point of view.
“The lateness of their pitch inspection did not help, but the referee would still have called it off at a quarter past one or so if we’d pushed him to.
“To be fair, I felt he did well, though. He tried to let it flow and allowed for the conditions reasonably sensibly.
All of the 13 who played at Whitstable seem to have come through the fairly difficult workout well and Cugley is able to report a full-strength squad for the trip to Peacehaven & Telscombe - boosted by the return of the prodigal Everitt.
Newly-promoted Peacehaven & Telscombe are four points clear of Leatherhead in their inaugural Ryman League campaign and welcome Cugley’s men on a seventeen match unbeaten run in all competitions.
Cugley added: “I don’t know what their pitch is like, but it’s a difficult place to go to, especially for a midweek game, but we’ll do everything we can to get a result.”
Visit Folkestone Invicta’s website: www.folkestoneinvictafc.co.uk
Ryman League Division One South
Wednesday 5th March 2014
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Piddinghoe Avenue, Peacehaven, East Sussex BN10 8RJ