Striker Danny Parish has spoken of his bond with Ashford United fans.
Supporters took Parish to their hearts during his prolific first spell with the Nuts & Bolts.
Their “Super Danny Parish” song was heard weekly as Parish scored 25 goals in the 2018/19 season to fire Tommy Warrilow’s side to a play-off final.
Moves to Maldon & Tiptree, where he reached the FA Cup Second Round, and National League Wealdstone followed before ending up at Canvey Island.
But he always planned to return to Ashford one day and the opportunity arose midway through last season when Warrilow heard of his availability.
His relationship with Nuts & Bolts fans remains and he can’t wait to play in front of them again at Homelands, where the new 3G pitch is almost ready for action.
This Saturday’s Isthmian South East game against Merstham has come too soon, however, with the fixture switched to Chatham (3pm).
“For me, it’s mainly the fans,” said Parish, when discussing why Ashford have been such a significant club in his career.
“When I was there that first season, they really took to me.
“It was the first time I’d ever had a fanbase sing a song about me and, being quite young at the time, it was surreal.
“I’ve always had that relationship with the fans and even after leaving I always said I would definitely return to Ashford one day.
“It didn’t know when it would be, because I had aspirations to play a lot higher, but I knew at some point I’d return.
“That relationship was always going to be there.
“I really enjoy it at Ashford.
“What helps is, even when I’m not playing at my best, the fans remember that season I had and they know what I’m capable of, so they stick with me.
“As a player, when you’re not performing at your best for one reason or another, it’s nice to know the fans still have faith in you.
“They’re always messaging me and talking to me on matchdays and I always like speaking to them.
“The fans have died down a little bit in terms of the hardcore singing fans but there’s still the same faces singing that song with my name in.
“They might be less in number but when I’m doing well, they sing that song, which is lovely to hear.”
Parish scored the winner from the penalty spot as Ashford beat Beckenham 1-0 last weekend.
It was his fourth goal of the season, with victory sending Kevin Watson’s side up to eighth place.
“I think I’m doing well but there’s definitely more to come,” said the 25-year-old.
“I’d like to be on a few more goals but I’ve been playing a little bit deeper at times in the No.10 role.
“I haven’t minded that - it’s more of a playmaker role - but the last couple of games I’ve been back up top.
“I know there’s more to come and when we get back to our home pitch, with the home crowd, and everything gets back to normal, I’m sure the goals will start flowing.
“I have started to add different bits to my game in the last couple of years. Where I used to just score goals, now I’ve got a few assists this season as well.
“I’m on four goals but I’ve probably got three or four assists and I’d like to think I’ve created quite a few more chances as well.
“It was nice to get that goal at Beckenham.
“Obviously it was from the spot and I should have had a second but the keeper made an unbelievable save.
“It was just nice to get the win.
“It’s been a frustrating one this season because we’ve done well against the teams who are arguably going to be up there and not so well against the teams who are arguably going to be down there.
“If we’d got better results against the teams we’ve lost to, we’d be right up the top of the table.”
Ashford are due to host Hythe in the Velocity Cup on Wednesday (7.45pm).