Tonbridge Angels boss Jay Saunders returns to Margate to snap up Ben Swift and Lloyd Blackman

Sunday 15th May 2022

TONBRIDGE ANGELS’ newly-appointed manager Jay Saunders has been busy shaping his squad after taking over as the clubs first full-time manager last Monday.

The 43-year-old former Margate manager replaced Steve McKimm, who parted company with the National League South club on Tuesday 3 May.

Saunders has returned to Hartsdown Park to sign centre-half Ben Swift, 25, from the Isthmian League Premier Division club.

Swift has previously played for Maidstone United and Aston Villa before signing for Margate in March 2017.

Saunders told the club website: I’m very pleased to have obtained Ben’s signature.  I believe he will become an integral part of the Angels back line and will build a great relationship with the Angels supporters.”

Swift added: “It’s great to be linking up again with Jay at Tonbridge. I have huge respect for him as a manager and I’ve achieved my aim to play at a higher level of football, so it’s worked out really well.”

Saunders has also returned to Margate to snap-up Lloyd Blackman as his assistant-manager, while Tom Parkinson has been retained as player assistant-manager.

Saunders has retained the services of defensive midfielder Doug Loft and midfielder Joe Turner is retained, ahead of his sixth season at the National League South club, having scored 59 goals in 202 appearances for the club.

“I’m very pleased that Doug has decided to stay. His vast experience at higher levels of football will be invaluable to me and the squad,” added Saunders.

“Joe’s fine reputation on the pitch goes before him and it’s not just that, he is a crowd pleaser with the ball at his feet but his tremendous work rate off the ball. Always a handful for defenders, he’s so difficult to make and always willing to help out his defence.”

Tonbridge Angels have released Tom Beere, Adam Coombes, Jake Embery, Ibrahim Olutade, Ricky Modeste, Jerry O’Sullivan, Teddy Perkins and Aaron Smith-Joseph.

Meanwhile, McKimm was appointed the manager of Isthmian League Premier Division side Carshalton Athletic yesterday, with Barry Moore being appointed as his assistant manager, while former Robbins’ manager Peter Adeniyi was unveiled as Merstham’s manager yesterday.

Merstham will be playing in the Isthmian League South Central Division next season after their seven-year stay in the Premier Division came to an end after finishing bottom of the table last season.

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