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Former Chelsea defender Jon Harley signs for Maidstone United after tweets with manager Jay Saunders

Former Chelsea defender Jon Harley has joined hometown club Maidstone United – after contacting manager Jay Saunders on Twitter.

Harley, pictured, was a regular for League 1 Portsmouth this season until financial problems led to his release in January. He initially got in touch with childhood friend Saunders to ask if he could train with United. But he has now offered to play – and Saunders can hardly believe his luck.

The Stones boss said: "I’ve known him for years. We played junior football for Kent and Castle Colts and have stayed in contact.

"He got in touch on Twitter a couple of months ago to see if he could train with us, then last weekend he asked if we needed an extra body. When you get an offer like that, it’s hard to turn down.

"He had offers from Aldershot and Stevenage and would still be playing league football if he hadn’t got a good job with Chelsea’s academy. He’s a local lad, he’s won the FA Cup, played Premier League and Champions League football and he’s offered to come and play for us.

"He’s not costing us bundles, either. We’ll chuck him a bit of expenses but he won’t be on a wage."

Harley could make his debut in Stones’ Ryman League, Division 1 South game at Chipstead on Saturday.

Picture: Steve Reid/Portsmouth News

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