Soccer Shorts: It was quite an easy decision to join incredible Brighton, says James Marrs

Wednesday 11th June 2014
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ASHFORD UNITED will be holding first-team open trials at Sandyacres on 28 June with a 10am start.  Any new players should bring a list of their experience, past clubs and their preferred playing position.

BECKENHAM TOWN player Darren Wise is a talented show jumper, who has competed at the Horse of the Year Show, the UK’s biggest indoor equestrian event, at the NEC Birmingham.

CRAY WANDERERS manager Keith Bird has appointed Bill Lappage as the club’s goalkeeping and outfield coach.

A club statement said: “Bill Lappage has had a long and varied career in non-league football as a player, coach and assistant manager.

“In 2006 Bill moved with the management team from Thurrock to AFC Hornchurch. During those peiods he has been part of three promotions, one League Cup win, four Essex Senior Cup wins and on three occasions reached the FA Cup First Round.

Dan Stanton, meanwhile, has been appointed scout.

DARTFORD manager Tony Burman has unveiled the capture of long-term target Paul Lorraine, 30, the former captain of neighbours Ebbsfleet United.

“I am delighted to welcome Paul back to the club,” Burman told the club’s website.

“He is an experienced central defender and I look forward to working with him.

Lorraine last played for Dartford during the 2002-03 season, playing sixteen times whilst on loan at the club.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA manager Neil Cugley has confirmed that wing-backs Chris Elliott, 22, and Josh Vincent, 24, has re-signed for the club.

Long-serving Vincent is now well past 250 senior games for the club, despite being still only 24, having graduated through Invicta’s tried and tested youth system.

While Elliott wasted no time in becoming a crowd favourite at Cheriton Road and rarely looked uncomfortable at the step-up from Canterbury City into the Ryman League.

Cugley told “Everything’s going really well.  The pitch is in good shape; the ground’s looking good and we’re getting the players all signed up.  The pre-season games are all arranged and though I keep expecting something to go wrong, there’s no sign of that right now!”

Cugley, who has lost striikers Johan Ter Horst and Simon Ausin to Hull City and Erith Town respectively, is still hopeful of bringing many one more new player to his squad, to add to the signings of Leatherhead duo Darren Smith and Ian Draycott.

“I’m still talking to someone else, but with what we’ve already got, we’re already in a good position and we can afford to wait and see what happens on that score.”

GILLINGHAM LADIES’ manager James Marrs has left the club to become the new women’s first team head coach at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Marrs arrives on the Sussex coast after guiding Gillingham to second place in the Women’s Premier League Southern Division and is relishing the challenge ahead.

The Gills also retained both the Kent Women’s Cup and Ryman Women’s Cup with wins over Charlton Athletic and Haverhill Rovers after reaching the FA Women’s Cup Fifth Round where they went down to a 2-0 defeat away to Arsenal, who went on to win the silverware.

Marrs, who won Kent coach of the year, told  “I had a conversation with (the club) last year and (they) asked me whether I’d be interested in coming down for a chat, but unfortunately it was too late in my pre-season preparations with Gillingham for me to do that.

“Then we had another conversation recently and I knew the club was going places and wanted to be a part of that.

“The first thing that struck me was the professionalism of everything here. As soon as you come into the stadium, you see what the plans are and everything is very impressive; so it was quite an easy decision really.

“The support from the men’s side of the club is incredible and that will play a big factor in us securing Women’s Super League (WSL) football one day.

“Now we’ve got to focus on getting things right on the pitch, so we can all move in the right direction.”

The new head coach is also looking forward to working with a new squad of players and is targeting an improvement on last season’s seventh place finish.

“It’s a very competitive league and anyone can beat anyone. I found that out last year after losing to the teams that finished near the bottom of the league.

“It’s just about the team who can put the most consistent run together. Coventry did that in the second half of the season and won the league.

“I’m looking forward to working with some of the really good players down here, getting to grips with them and hope we move in the right direction. If the season started now then I’d be a happy man.”

Elite women and girls football manager, Tracy Doe, is pleased with the appointment and is full of optimism going into the new campaign.

She added: “I’m very happy to have James on board.

“I have a lot of optimism going into the new season, but any transition like this is difficult. It will take a while for the players to get used to him, but I’m sure that by the time we start the new season, everything will be fine.

“Whether it’s on or off the pitch, we want to be pushing for that spot in the WSL and that will be always be our ultimate aim.”

MARGATE continue with their squad re-shaping with the arrival of former Woking defender Brett Johnson, 28, and former Carshalton Athletic midfielder Lewis Taylor.

Meanwhile, midfielder Jack Sammoutis has mutually agreed to leave the club to allow him to return to Cyprus to be closer to his family.

THAMESMEAD TOWN manager Keith McMahon confirms that Rob Budd, Jack Hopkins, Ashley Probets, Tyrus Gordon-Young, Richard Butler, Sean Roberts, Rob Carter, Simon Glover, Derek Duncan, Rashid Kamara and Adem Ramadan have all re-signed for the club next season.

The club lost their Ryman Premier League status after one season after finishing third-from-bottom, thus returning to the Ryman League Division One North.

McMahon tweeted: “Really pleased nearly all the squad have re-signed for next season.”

TONBRIDGE ANGELS manager Steve McKimm has unveiled the signing of highly-rated striker Billy Medlock, 23.

The forward, who despite a difficult campaign overall for his club Eastbourne Town, found the back of the net 30 times last season and has also had previous experience at Worthing, Eastbourne Borough and Horsham.

McKimm told the club’s website: “I am delighted that Billy is joining us as there was competition from various Ryman Premier club’s to obtain his services.”

The Angels will be playing in the Ryman Premier League next season after their three-year stint in Conference South came to an end following relegation.

Tom Parkinson, 23, has left Ryman League Division One South play-off winners Leatherhead to sign for the club.

Parkinson can play in a number of positions and McKimm added: “It’s great to have Tom on board. He’s really looking forward to playing for us and being part of a winning set-up last season with Leatherhead will have given him a lot of confidence.”

VCD ATHLETIC manager Tony Russell has unveiled the arrival of striker Leigh Bremner on a one-year contract.

The hard-working striker scooped the player of the year award while at Cray Wanderers in April 2013.

When asked about his preparations ahead of the club’s inaugural Ryman Premier League campaign, Russell, who won the Ryman League Division One North title on the last day of last season, said: “The only ones we have sorted so far is Denty (Karl Dent) has signed a one-year contract and we have signed Leigh Bremner on a one-year contract.

“I’m hoping to sign one, maybe two new players over the weekend.”

WELLING UNITED boss Jamie Day has added more quality to his new-look backline with the signing of Chris Bush, 21.

The centre-back, who can also operate at left-back, has been in Day’s sights for many seasons and the Wings boss was delighted when his man put pen to paper at Park View Road last Saturday.

“Bushy is a player we have tracked for the last three or four years,” revealed Day.

Day told “We tried to sign him before and he has shown that he is very capable of playing at this level with the amount of Conference matches he has played for his age.

“We will need his experience next season. He can play at left-back but I have always seen him as a centre-half and that’s where we have signed him to play. That means we have now got three quality players competing for places in that position.

“I am sure Bushy will do well for us next season and I’m looking forward to working with him.

The former Brentford trainee played 42 times for Hereford United last season, including in the 2-1 win over Welling United last August.

Born in Leytonstone, he also lists AFC Wimbledon and Gateshead among his former clubs.

Meanwhile, the club have confirmed that they have mutually agreed to terminate Matthew Harriott’s contact.  The midfielder signed for the Wings but is now a free agent.