Published: 00:00, 06 June 2019
New signing Danny Walder has revealed how Ashford boss Tommy Warrilow convinced him not to give up football this summer.
Walder, 29, was ready to pack it in after two tough seasons at Faversham with work commitments starting to mount.
But a call from Warrilow, who managed him at Tonbridge Angels, changed the midfielder's mind.
Walder said: "I wasn’t going to play this year because I’ve got so busy with work.
"I teach plumbing in a prison on the Isle of Sheppey, to prisoners who are ready to be released. I also work with Mark Lovell doing fire alarms at the weekend so it’s trying to balance it.
"Football is a commitment but I love playing. Tom said to me 'you're only 29' and I think I was a bit rash when I said I wasn’t going to play.
"Tom said what he’s planning to do this year. I worked with Tom for four or five years at Tonbridge and it appealed to me.
"I get on with Tom really well and I know how he likes to play so it didn’t take much to turn my head.
"He was unlucky this year in the play-off final and wants to continue that momentum and get some boys he can trust. They don’t need much more than a few additions."
Walder was a key member of the Tonbridge side which won the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs in 2011.
He said: "I went there from Dover and I was only 21. That year we got promoted and it was good.
"We had two or three years in Conference South and it’s not just on the pitch, Tom’s a really nice bloke off the pitch.
"He’s got that rapport with the lads that he can have a laugh and a joke in the bar after but when it comes down to it, he has the respect in the changing-room as well which some managers struggle with."
After a spell at Herne Bay it was Ray Turner who brought Walder to Faversham but the Lilywhites finished 19th and 17th in his two seasons at Salters Lane.
He said: "It wasn’t very enjoyable when Ray left. I get on with Danny (Chapman) and Phil (Miles) but we just couldn’t really turn things around.
"It became more of a chore and I’ve never been like that with football – it’s been my release.
"It was nothing to do with Danny or Phil or the club but it was the first time in 10 years of playing football that I didn’t enjoy it.
"However, I still feel as fit as I did when I was 22 or 23. I only missed two games in the last two years because of suspension.
"It was a bit rash to think I wasn’t going to play and I’ve still got a bit left in me."
Clark Woodcock has left Ashford to sign for Canterbury City in the Southern Counties East League, while Sam Corne will also be moving on this summer.
Joining the club alongside Walder is former Thamesmead midfielder Tom O'Connor.