I knew Boyd was destined for the big-time, recalls Binks - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Sunday 07th January 2007

Kent football has played a part in George Boyd’s record breaking £260,000 move from Nationwide Conference club Stevenage Borough to Coca-Cola League Two outfit Peterborough United tomorrow, writes Stephen McCartney.

Rainham-born Boyd, now 21, spent five years playing in Charlton Athletic’s youth sides before his release.

But knowing many players that were playing Kent Youth League football for Chatham Town, having attended the same school as them, this enabled Boyd the chance to shine under Steve Binks as he picked up his broken dream of becoming a professional footballer, for the time being.

In an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with www.kentishfootball.co.uk Binks, who went on to manage Chatham Town’s first team and is now commercial manager at the Maidstone Road club, recalled that he knew Boyd was destined for stardom.

He said: “I don’t take a lot of credit from his development as a lot of it was at Charlton but he was a good friend of a lot of the players I had.

“I heard he was released by Charlton by my players, who some of them went to school with him, so I signed him for my under sixteen side at the time.

“I think he’s debut was against Gravesend & Northfleet. We played them earlier in the season and I think we lost 5-1 and they were flying high at the top of the table and we were third or fourth.

“We went there to play them and they thought they were going to win comfortably, but we ended up beating them 9-3 or 9-2 and George, playing as a striker, scored seven goals - he tore them to shreds. They didn’t know what hit them!

“I could tell immediately that you knew he was destined for bigger things. I immediately contacted our first team manager, Peter Coupland.

“George saw the season with us in the Kent Youth League and the following season he went straight into the first team, in our first season in the Southern League, and he was still only seventeen.

“You could tell he had a fantastic talent, even at that level. He could go onto bigger things.

“I don’t think he saw the whole season out. He got into our Southern League side and he was offered an apprenticeship at Stevenage Borough and the best part of that season he had at reserve team level and by the end of that season he broke into the first team and the following season he was an established first team player.”

With League One club Gillingham right on their doorstep, within three miles from their Maidstone Road ground, Chatham Town, now playing Ryman League Division One South football, need to produce their own home grown talent.

“I’m absolutely delighted for him,” added Binks. “I think the Medway towns have a hot bed of talent and Danny Kedwell at Welling United is another one whose come up through the Chatham Town youth sides.

“Even though he isn’t in the first team, Frannie Collin is at Gillingham but there’s a lot of youth players in the Medway towns that can play at a good level of senior non-league football, Conference or above. Billy Jones is another Rainham boy, he’s at Exeter City.”

Binks, meanwhile, revealed that there are more talented players that are playing for the club that can progress.

“We’ve got some cracking youngsters coming through Chatham Town,” he said. “Bradley King, who plays at full-back or midfield is already in the first team and there’s three or four in the reserves that are knocking on the door of the first team.

“I think Chatham Town, as a club, are a club that can give good youngsters like this the opportunity to play at this level of football.

“Every season there’s one that progresses into a good level, Kedwell, Collin, and I’m sure it’s going to continue.

“I think we’re a club that gives youngsters a chance to break into senior football.

“Some can take the bull by the horns and play at a higher level but it’s down to their desire, attitude and mentality.

“For everyone of the Boyd’s, Kedwell’s that makes it, there’s a dozen that come from Chatham that don’t have the desire or confidence to make another step up.”

Binks, meanwhile, hopes Boyd’s new club, Peterborough United, will allow him to play in Garry Tilley’s testimonial against a youthful Charlton Athletic side later in the season.

Tilley suffered the heartbreaking torture of breaking his leg for a third time in one of his comeback games in a pre-season friendly at Kent League side Thamesmead Town.

Stevenage Borough had granted Boyd to play in the testimonial game but Chatham Town will need to seek permission from Peterborough for him to make a guest appearance for his former team-mate.

Sadly, with the way the football world operates, Stevenage Borough will be banking a nice healthy cheque for selling on Boyd, but the non-league club that gave him the chance to shine will receive nothing.

I do hope that the Broadhall Way outfit send a full-strength side down to Maidstone Road, backed by as many fans as possible, to say “thanks” to Chatham Town in a pre-season friendly during the summer months.

Because it was Binks and the Chats that picked Boyd up from his shattered dream after his release from Charlton Athletic, to become non-league football’s hottest ever property.

If you played in the same Chatham Town youth team, or played with or against George Boyd at non-league level, we want to hear from you with your views.  Please click on “Contact us”.