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Dartford defender Lee Burns joins East Thurrock United

Lee Burns has left Dartford after seven years at the club.

Burns will play against the Darts next season after signing for East Thurrock United, who won promotion to National League South via the play-offs earlier this month.

Injuries limited the 33-year-old to just 10 league starts for Dartford in 2015/16 but he will go down as one of the club's most influential players in recent times.

Lee Burns on the ball for Dartford against Truro City Picture: Andy Payton
Lee Burns on the ball for Dartford against Truro City Picture: Andy Payton

Burns joined Dartford from Braintree in June 2009 and went on to make 272 appearances for the club, scoring 33 goals.

He won the Ryman League Premier Division title in his first season at Princes Park and was part of the Darts side which went up via the Conference South play-offs in 2011/12.

Burns and Dartford finished eighth in Conference Premier the following season, ranking as the top part-time club in England, as well as reaching the FA Trophy semi-finals.

The full-back missed the end of the 2014/15 season because of work commitments and didn't make it back in time for pre-season last summer because he was stranded on the Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Dartford boss Tony Burman invited Burns back to pre-season training but he's chosen instead to start a new chapter in his home county of Essex.

Burman said: "Lee has been one of the best players and characters that I have ever worked with throughout his time with Dartford FC.

"I can’t thank him enough for the help he has given me and the club over the last eight years to reach the highest level of non league football.

"I think we will all miss his bubbly character."

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