Published: 05:00, 06 May 2022
There is still more to come from Herne Bay’s squad which earned the club promotion, according to manager Ben Smith.
Bay are now preparing for life in Isthmian Premier for the first time in their history, having beaten Ashford 2-0 in the Isthmian South East play-off final to finish their 2021/22 campaign with their greatest-ever day.
Almost undoubtedly, there will be signings and departures at Winch’s Field - where a new 3G pitch will also be installed during a busy summer - but Smith reckons the core of his squad which earned promotion have still not reached their full potential just yet.
He said: “We still have not got the full potential out of that squad.
"We’ve added Westy [Michael West who was on loan from Ebbsfleet] and we’ve added Rory Smith who is playing in a new position. There are some young players there.
“They’re not many 30-year-olds there, Jordan Perrin in goal is 21 and there’s hungry players at 25 and 26 coming to their prime. We have so much to work with there.
"It’s going to be a hell of a ride and I’m so happy for our fans.
“They’re going to visit new grounds and it’s going to help the club snowball.”
One of those Smith will be hoping to get a full pre-season with is his namesake Rory Smith - a player who had trained with Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen while he was at Ramsgate - who is still yet to play in his best position since joining Herne Bay.
“We are playing him out of position,” he revealed.
“He came in at a time when we needed someone to play on the right-hand side - but that’s not what I signed him for!
“I signed him to be an extra striker. Aberdeen were trying to sign him as a striker, he’s never played on the wing, really. But how good was he?
“He showed why clubs were looking at him. He’s only young.”
On the other wing, Kieron Campbell came good for Herne Bay when it mattered most as he scored three goals in as many games on their way to play-off glory, taking his tally to 10 goals for the campaign.
Smith stated: “I’ve said that he should be playing higher - and he will be. He’s too good for this level.
“When he’s on it, he’s frightening.”
Bay’s boss also praised the club’s fans for their support.
He commented: “Since maybe February time when we had a little bad run, and then we started to get on it again, I was banging on to them, even when we are down, that’s when we need you more. I don’t know why, the penny just dropped.
“The players vibe off that and work from that. They’ve been sensational.
“You can see how big a club we can be on these days.”