Young striker fights back

Tuesday 20th June 2006

The first player to leave newly promoted side Tonbridge Angels was confirmed today -  but fans will be pleased to know that it is not a crowd favourite.

However, the player to leave the Ryman Premier League club is a favourite amongst supporters of the club’s successful reserve and youth team ranks.

Tom Reeves appeared on six occasions for the first team and was one of the club’s most prolific young strikers.

But after two career threatening injuries over the past two seasons he has decided that he wants to play at a lower level with his brother.

Once he has regained the spark and fitness that gained him opportunities at clubs such as Arsenal, West Ham United and Portsmouth he has said he will decide where he wants his career to go.

Reeves began his footballing career when he was just seven, playing for a local team Villacourt Rovers, having been born and brought up in Bromley.

This team were very successful, so much so that many players were scouted by professional clubs, resulting in the team being forced to fold due to a lack of players.

At the age of nine he had been scouted and brought into the Arsenal school of excellence.

Reeves spent a couple of years in their academy until he was released.  From there he went back to his roots and joined another Bromley based side – Valley Valiants with his school mates.

The following season he was picked up by West Ham United and played in their academy side until the age of 14 – but endured a time when he “wasn’t enjoying his football.”

Reeves was not playing regular football and lost interest.  When he left West Ham he entered into a team made up of a mixture of academy players.

They played at the huge Tonbridge Junior Football Club Fiesta.  At this tournament Barry Jeffrey, who has since left the Betterview Longmead Stadium club, approached Reeves’ manager and asked the young striker  would like to play for the Angels’ under fourteen’s side.

However, Reeves has suffered two serious injuries since joining Tonbridge Angels.  He broke a bone in his foot during the 2003-04 season but couldn’t wait to get back to playing and didn’t give enough time for his injury to heal.

Reeves was then snapped up by Portsmouth, but the striker didn’t enjoy his time on the south coast.

He felt he didn’t fit in and was “very unhappy” during his stay, and was “not made to feel welcome” and “could not wait to leave” the club.

So Reeves opted for return to Tonbridge Angels – but has been left frustrated due to injuries.

He suffered the second break in his foot during their Kent Challenge Youth Cup third round tie against local rivals Tunbridge Wells in January 2005. 

He scored two goals in a game the Angels went on to win 4-0 with Ian Parkes, who went on to play for England Schoolboys and Angels’ first team, and Craig Fermor scoring the other goals.  

However, last season brought Reeves just four reserve team starts and nine appearances from the substitutes bench for Julian Leigh’s side.

Unfortunately he wasn’t able to continue his Angels’ career and after not appearing in the final five months of the season in any Tonbridge Angels’ side it was clear he would not return.

A statement issued on said: “On 17th June 2006 Tom confirmed to the club that he has left the Angels and will now be plying his trade in a lower league with his brother in an attempt to regain the spark that made him a popular figure amongst the youth, reserve and first teams at Tonbridge Angels.

“He has also said that from there he will decide where he wants his career to go.

“We wish Tom good luck in his future career as he without doubt certainly has a long and promising one ahead of him.”

There must be a Kent League side out there willing to give this young talent another chance to shine.  If not Reeves will be another wasted talent.

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