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Ex-Watford and Barnet player Jordan Parkes explains why he left Hemel Hempstead Town to sign for Ebbsfleet United

Jordan Parkes (left) watches on as Dean Rance passes the ball against Hemel Hempstead Picture: Andy Payton
Jordan Parkes (left) watches on as Dean Rance passes the ball against Hemel Hempstead Picture: Andy Payton

Ebbsfleet United's willingness to pay a transfer fee was the key behind their capture of Hemel Hempstead Town club captain Jordan Parkes.

The 25-year-old became Fleet boss Daryl McMahon's second summer signing, after John Paul Kissock from Whitehawk, when he called time on three successful years with Hemel last week.

Parkes said: "I had a decent season, I scored 30 goals and I was quite comfortable at Hemel.

"It’s my local town and I really enjoyed my three seasons there but it got to a point where there were options for me to progress and move on. There was a lot of hard decision-making, making sure the move was right for me.

"Macca got in touch quite early, just after they’d given him the job, saying Ebbsfleet were interested. I had interest from League and Conference clubs as well but everything seemed to work out fine with Ebbsfleet.

"The issue was that I was still under contract at Hemel and they wanted a fee, which put off the League clubs. It was a case of finding the right club, who were willing to pay the fee to Hemel.

"I liked the ambition of Ebbsfleet - the way they want to get promoted and then do well in the Conference as well."

Parkes is certainly a player with pedigree. He spent a decade at Watford and played alongside Daniel Sturridge, Scott Sinclair and James Tomkins in the England under-18 side.

He said: "I was at Watford for more than 10 years and I’m very fond of the club. They’ve done brilliantly this year to get into the Premier League and they gave me my opportunity in the first team.

"My whole footballing set-up comes from Watford but when Malky Mackay came in (succeeding Aidy Boothroyd as manager in 2008), he decided I wasn’t for him.

"I’d just turned 20 when he made me reserve team captain. He played me every week in the reserves so when he got the (first team) job, I thought ‘brilliant, he likes me, he’ll give me a chance’. But after a couple of weeks he said ‘you’re not going to play for me’ so I knew it was time to move on.

"I went to Barnet but that was a difficult time for me, mentally. It was frustrating because they were struggling at the bottom of the league and I was playing at full-back, which was a position I didn’t want to play.

"In the end I made the decision to come out of the pro game and sign for Hemel, to love the game again, to enjoy playing football.

"They gave me the opportunity to play in midfield, the chance to kick on and score goals and to show people what I could do."

More from Jordan Parkes in the Gravesend Messenger on Thursday.

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