Scott Heard has spoken of his relief at leaving struggling Whitstable to join Folkestone’s title push.
Heard joined Invicta for an undisclosed fee after the Oystermen accepted an increased bid funded by donations from associate director Paul Morgan and Folkestone’s supporters’ club.
The midfielder’s form for Whitstable over the last few years earned him trials at Gillingham, Chesterfield and Maidstone, while Ebbsfleet also wanted to sign him when Steve Brown was in charge.
But highly-rated Heard remained at the Belmont until a deal was finally done to bring him across Kent to the Fullicks Stadium.
Heard said: "It’s definitely a relief.
"Folkestone made an approach to Whitstable Town and they informed me. I got back to Whitstable and said that if a move could come together, I’d be happy because Folkestone’s a tremendous club going in the right direction.
"It was tricky (during the negotiations) with Whitstable being my home club as well but the ambition of Folkestone can’t be matched.
"Going to a team like Folkestone, who are challenging for promotion and the title, is exciting for any player. I jumped at the chance to play for Folkestone."
Heard scored on his Invicta debut on Saturday and was named man-of-the-match as Neil Cugley’s table-toppers beat Guernsey 5-2.
He said: "When you play for a team like Folkestone, your quality naturally shows because you’re playing with good players.
"Saturday went well. I tried to keep everything simple.
"I always try to give 110%. If the quality’s not there, I’ll make up for it with my work ethic.
"I’m happy to be on board and hope to be here for a long time."
Cugley was delighted to land Heard in the same week experienced midfielder Micheal Everitt returned to Folkestone for a third spell.
He said: "Scott’s a player I’ve rated for a long time and eventually I’ve got him.
"It’s the sheer energy of the lad. I’ve never seen a boy run so much. He’s so fit, he gets everywhere and that’s matched by his quality.
"Jason Lillis managed him at Whitstable, Roland Edge has always rated him and so have I.
"Things aren’t going well at Whitstable so once we thought we could get hold of him, it was the perfect time.
"People have chipped in and helped pay the fee for him. It’s pleasing and we are lucky at Folkestone that we’ve got a good base of loyal fans, people who are happy to put their hands in their pockets.
"Scott’s not actually as expensive as Josh Stanford (who left to rejoin Faversham) was so we’ve saved on the wages. It didn’t really cost the club anything."