Soccer Shorts: Sheppey United set to light up Holm Park
CONCORD RANGERS have confirmed that midfielder James White, 25, is in talks with Conference Premier Dover Athletic.
CRAY WANDERERS manager Keith Bird continues his busy summer by completing four new summer signings.
Irish striker Ian Daly, 24, has arrived following his recent release from Ryman Premier League side Dulwich Hamlet.
Daly is a former Ireland under 21 international and played for his country at every age from under 15 to under 21.
The talented striker started his career at Manchester City as a youth and played professionally in Greece, Spain and Ireland.
He then joined Conference South side Bromley, which is where he first worked with Bird, who was reserve team manager at the Conference South club.
Bird told the club’s website: “Ian and I are thrilled to be working together again. There is a lot of mutual respect between us. Ian was the first call I made when we took over at Cray last season but unfortunately he had only just committed to Dulwich Hamlet two weeks before our appointment.
“I am therefore delighted that Ian has signed for us this season. He is a quality player and will compliment Shaun Welford brilliantly who we also signed (from Hythe Town) recently.”
Defender Steve Springett has arrived from Southern Counties East Football League side Cray Valley and Louis Sprosen returns to the club following his decision to leave Hythe Town at the end of last season.
“We had Steve watched a number of times last season and were very impressed by the reports we were getting back on him. He was therefore a key target for us at centre back this season.”
Newcastle-born Springett was given a contract at Ebbsfleet United having impressed while playing for their Academy and has since played for Ashford Town, Aveley and Erith & Belvedere.
Sprosen, meanwhile, is a familiar face to Cray Wanderers fans having been a popular player at the club previously.
Last season the versatile player was at Hythe Town and has also played at Erith & Belvedere, Beckenham Town and before that was full-time at AFC Wimbledon after graduating from Bromley’s Academy.
Bird said: “Louis is a great utility player being able to play upfront, in midfield, or even as full-back so he gives us lots of options.
“His desire to play for us and his enthusiasm for the plans we have for the club really impressed me and (assistant manager) Mike Paye.”
Meanwhile, defender Max Fitzgerald has been re-signed by the club for another season on dual registration with landlords Bromley.
The club have confirmed that Adrian Stone, Alex Stavrinou, Carlos Talbot, Danny Lye, Darren Behcet, Dmitri Larin, Gary Beckett, Ismael Welsh, Jordan Bird, Nathan Simpson, Nic Taylor, Pat O’Connor, Peter Smith, Richard Monan and Shaun Welford have also signed for the Ryman League Division One North club.
DARTFORD manager Tony Burman has confirmed that goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim, 23, will be staying permanently at Princes Park from now on.
Ibrahim saved two penalties in a penalty shoot-out as Leatherhead beat Folkestone Invicta to win the Ryman League Division One South play-off final at Cheriton Road.
Burman told www.dartfordfconline.com: “I am pleased to announce that goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim has been signed for next season.
“I would like to stress that Deren has always been our player over the last couple of years, has gained valuable experience playing and winning promotion with both Maidstone United and Leatherhead.
“This has played a major part in Deren’s development and he will be working alongside a new goalkeeper coach and goalkeeper, both to be announced in due course.”
The Darts will be playing Conference South football next season after suffering relegation after a two-year stint in the top-flight.
DOVER ATHLETIC first summer signing Stefan Payne says he will adapt to life in the Conference Premier next season.
Payne became manager Chris Kinnear’s first summer signing as he prepares to lead the club into the Conference Premier next season, joining the club on the back of a prolific campaign at Ryman Premier League side AFC Hornchurch, where he scored 31 goals in 46 games for The Urchins.
“There was some interest from the club last summer, but that didn’t come to anything,” said Payne, 22, when speaking to www.doverathletic.com.
“Then, further interest came in January but I was still under contract at Hornchurch so I ended up seeing out my contract with them.
“When you’re a footballer and your contract expires, it’s always a bit of a stressful time as all you want to be doing is playing football and find yourself a new club. When I found out Dover were interested in me this time around, it was a no-brainer. I jumped at the chance!
“To go from the Ryman Premier to the Conference Premier is a big chance and one that I am sure I can make the most of. I’ve played at this level before, with Ebbsfleet, and I’m ready for the challenge.”
Despite the two-division jump, former Gillingham striker Payne says he can score the goals to keep the club in the division.
“I’m a very confident player. If I can get a good run in the side, then I’ll always have the belief that I can score goals,” he said.
“Last season, I set myself a target of 20-25 goals for Hornchurch and I beat that. That was my first full season with a club and if I can stay fit this season then I don’t see why I can’t get a similar number next season for Dover.
“It’s a step up in quality, but I think it will suit me. Sometimes, the lower down the leagues you go the harder it is – but playing every week with, and against, better players will make me a better player.”
The Lambeth-born striker made 27 appearances for the Gills between 2010-2012 still has aspirations to play in the Football League.
“Of course, every player at this level should be looking to break into the professional game. I’m still young and hopefully one day I can get back into the League.
“This season though, I’ve just got to get my head down and work hard. I’ve done a lot and learnt a lot in my last few years and I’ll be bringing all of that with me to Dover.
“I just can’t wait to get started now. The stress has gone and now I’m just excited. This is a big club in Kent football and I’m really pleased to be a part of it.
“We’ll be going to some big, well-supported clubs next season like Bristol Rovers and Torquay, but I’m sure we will go into every game positively and confident of pulling off some upsets along the way.”
EBBSFLEET UNITED manager Steve Brown has confirmed that striker Billy Bricknell, 25, has put pen to paper on a new contract to stay at Stonebridge Road.
Bricknell becomes the nineteenth-player to be in Brown’s squad for next season.
FOLKESTONE INVICTA company secretary Jim Pellatt says the club are in the best financial position for a while.
The club face a rush against time to get the club’s Cheriton Road up to Ryman League standard by installing seats in another part of the ground after the roof of the main stand blew off over the Christmas storms and the club were without seating accommodation for the remainder of the season.
Invicta installed 28 seats for the play-off final at the end of the season, but fans were forced to stand up to watch games.
“As I stated previously, regarding the ground, having looked at all options, we concluded that demolishing the stand and moving the seats over to the Brian Merryman Stand was the only option that would allow have us to have a seated area ready for the new season and the only option we could afford in the short term,” Mr Pellatt told the club’s website.
“This buys us time to pursue discussions regarding a new stand and we are looking into grants and other options to facilitate that.
“But that will take time and they are far from straightforward to obtain as it first appears.
“We are also aware to the need for a directors and officials area and its proximity, or not, to boardroom hospitality. There are possibilities to facilitate that.”
The club sold striker Johan Ter Horst to Premier League club Hull City for a transfer fee believed to be £30,000.
Mr Pellatt told www.folkestoneinvictafc.co.uk: “Financially we are undoubtedly in the best position that we have been in my time at the club.
“I believe that we have made our own luck but we received money last season that is very unlikely to be repeated in the foreseeable future.
“That has given us a small but welcome cushion of money to start the season but at the time the stand blew down, we had to bring forward money from the forthcoming season and with lost games, temporary costs and now the cost of moving the seats and demolishing the old stand, the overall loss/cost will be in the region of £25,000-£30,000.
“That also set us back a couple of months regarding the payment of other bills, but the situation has now been brought up to date. So our attitude now must be to proceed with caution.
“We already have a very strong squad and it is quite obviously crucial that we don’t allow the finances to slip back.
“We also have considerable increased insurance premiums to pay, to the tune of several thousands of pounds per season.
“We will not be paying off the CVA early, as there is nothing to gain from doing so and it would affect our cash-flow.”
MAIDSTONE UNITED manager Jay Saunders says defender Elliott Cox, 21, has left the club after failing to agree terms with the defender.
Cox joined the club back in January 2014 after his release from their Ryman Premier League rivals Margate and went on to make 17 appearances.
Saunders told www.maidstoneunited.co.uk: “Coxy did a good job for us when he came in and I made him an offer for next season. However, we couldn’t agree on terms and with pre-season looming I decided to call time on negotiations so both parties could move on.
“He’s a young and ambitious player and I am sure it won’t be long before another club signs him up.
“I won’t have to look far for that position with Richard Davis and Jack Sullivan both in contention.
“Richard’s fought back brilliantly after that injury and will be hungry to impress during pre-season.
“I’ve worked with Sully for the past few months at the Academy. He’s a class act and has got those characteristics we saw in Flish and Millsy (Alex Flisher and Tom Mills) when they stepped up to the first team.”
MARGATE midfielder Kane Wills says Terry Brown’s side will be the one to beat in the Ryman Premier League next season.
Wills, 24, moved to the Kent club from league rivals Bognor Regis Town, having previously played for Brighton & Hove Albion and Crawley Town.
“After speaking with Terry (Brown) and Cashy (Stuart Cash) they sold me the vision of the club and the fact that a management team of their degree have come here shows the ambition of the club and where it wants to be,” Wills told www.margate-fc.co.uk.
“I am really looking forward to the challenge. We as players are under no illusions as to how tough it will be because every team will raise their game against us as we will be the ones to beat.
“We have a great squad here and it is all about promotion but we need to find the right set-up so that we are winning games home and away and putting on decent performances, especially on cold Tuesday nights in the winter.”
Whilst things continue to develop on and off the pitch at Hartsdown Park, Wills can already sense a Football League set-up at Margate.
“There is a real professional set-up now here,” he said.
“The pre-season programme looks great and there are some decent teams in there. Going away to Ireland (to play UCD Athletic on 30 June) for five days as a squad is unheard of at this level but that just shows what is going on here.”
RAMSGATE have confirmed that Ben Laslett and Warren Schulz have re-signed for the club.
Manager Dean Hill told www.ramsgate-fc.co.uk: “I’m over the moon to announce that the club’s two most loyal players have committed to the club for another season.
“Warren and Ben have more experience between the two of them at this level than most teams will have in their squad, which will be invaluable for the coming season.”
Hill added: “The new board, management team and playing staff is now coming together nicely.”
Meanwhile, the club are looking for a reliable and efficient kit man and to apply you should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHEPPEY UNITED chairman Matthew Smith says the club have been successful in obtaining the additional hour extension to their floodlight planning permission.
Swale Borough Council planning committee granted the newly-promoted Kent Invicta League side an additional hour (from 9pm to 10pm) on 52 occasions throughout the year.
Mr Smith told the club’s website: “Myself and Liz (Ernie Batten’s wife) attended the hearing and following a mammoth planning meeting our extension was heard at 10:42pm!
“The planning committee discussed our application at length and they voted unanimously to award us the 52 extensions.
“This is fantastic news for the club and I shall now send the necessary documentation to the Football Foundation in order to cement our applications with themselves.
“At present the foundation have 99% of our application. However, this is the final piece of the jigsaw which hopefully will see a successful conclusion when they meet in July.
“We have been a bit stuck at Holm Park waiting for the permission to carry out the Football Foundation works. However, we are completing further works external to our funding bid, all of which are progressing nicely.
“I hope you will all be pleasantly surprised by the subtle changes we have made around the ground.”
SITTINGBOURNE confirm that Nick Dunsdon, Adam Molloy, Tom Brunt, Nick Davis, George Crimmen, Jono Richardson, Hicham Akhazzan, Sam Spencer, Reiss Gallagher, Bryan Bell, Tom Loynes and Stephen Okoh have all re-signed for the club.
Beau Taylor, Simba Nyaruwa, Adam Dunsdon, Ollie Brown, Dan Keate, Joe Lester, Matt Martin, Curtis George and Brett Ince are new faces.
TONBRIDGE ANGELS manager Steve McKimm continues to revamp the playing staff at Longmead Stadium by signing Tommy Whitnell, 26.
The Kent based striker comes with extensive Ryman Premier League experience having played for Cray Wanderers, Thamesmead Town, Margate and most recently Dulwich Hamlet, who finished just outside the play-offs last season.
“Tommy certainly knows where the net is and his experience in this division will be very valuable to us,” McKimm told www.tonbridgeangelsonline.co.uk.
But midfielder Chris Piper and strike pair Mark Lovell, 30, and Luis Cumbers, 25, have left the club.
A club statement said: “Discussions between the manager and the three players have been on going over the past few weeks but in the end agreement could not be reached and with other offers out there they have reluctantly decided to move on.”
McKimm, who was Sutton United’s coach, added: “It was a very amicable parting and individually they have been very honest with me, which is always helpful.
“The board and I would like to place on record our thanks to their respective contributions to the club and wish them all the very best for the future.”
He has put pen to paper for the Conference Premier club after leaving Conference South side Bishop’s Stortford.
Wings manager Jamie Day told www.wellingunited.com: “We watched him for a fair chunk of last season so we know all about him.
“Callum is a die-hard central defender who puts his body on the line but he can also play and pass as well.
“He knows this level and what is expected of him. We’ve added him to the squad and see him as a key defender this season.
“He is still young so I’m delighted that we’ve got him and can help him develop during the coming season.
The 6ft 4in defender was sent-off in his only game for West Ham’s first team, in the League Cup against Aldershot and since spent time on loan at AFC Wimbledon. He has also appeared for Kingstonian.
The Wings have lost striker Ross Lafayette, who scored 17 goals for the club last season.
A club statement said: “Welling United are disappointed to announce a U-turn by striker Ross Lafayette.
“The popular forward had agreed a new one-year deal with boss Jamie Day following the conclusion of last season.
“He shook hands on the deal with Jamie and despite rumours of a potential move, assured the Wings boss that he was going to sign a new contract at Park View Road on his return from holiday.
“However, Lafayette delayed signing the deal and informed Day at the end of last month that he was no longer going to remain at Welling as he wanted to pursue a career in the Football League at Luton Town.
“Lafayette scored 39 goals in 90 games during his Welling career, which included winning the Conference South title. The club would like to wish him every success in the Football League.”
Welling United revealed the club missed out on a high-profile striker, who has opted for a more lucrative move a division below.
“Since Lafayette’s decision, the Wings made an offer for a different striker that would have seen that player become the highest-paid player in the club’s history.
“The forward subsequently turned down our offer and has since joined a Conference South club for more money.
“Day has alternative targets lined up but relocation is currently proving a problem in a bid to bring these players to Park View Road.”
Meanwhile, over the coming weeks the re-branded Wings Sports Bar will be refurbished with 10 TV screens, new flooring and furniture as it prepares to open its doors seven days a week.
Operations manager Barry Hobbins said: “Welling supporters are urged to make use of the new facilities, particularly on matchdays with live football on the box and after the day’s main event at Park View Road.
“It’s an exciting new development and we’re sure everyone will be impressed with the new-look Wings Sports Bar, now thanks to Dean Lee (of Pure Nightclub, Bexleyheath) this has become a reality.”
Meanwhile, the club begin the search for a new physio after Dave Lawson, formerly of Gravesend & Northfleet, has left the club.