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Herne Bay: Ben Smith discusses manager's job and transfer business

By Cameron Hogwood

Ben Smith admits it was merely a ‘pipe dream’ when the possibility of becoming the Herne Bay boss first surfaced.

The former Canterbury City manager was appointed as part of a new consortium takeover at the Bostik South East club in May, which saw Nick Gearing replaced at the helm after less than a month in the job.

A revamp at the top saw Bill Dordoy step aside as chairman after 28 years at Bay, with Stuart Fitchie stepping into his shoes.

Kyron Lightfoot in action for Canterbury City. Picture: Chris Davey
Kyron Lightfoot in action for Canterbury City. Picture: Chris Davey

Smith said: “There were a few groups of people trying to take over the club. I got talking to one of them and one of the people that had got a group together, and then the idea kind of snowballed from there really.

“I think it was more a pipe dream that it would happen to be honest, but the board of directors were true to their word that they wanted to move on because the club was not in a very good financial position at all.

“Now there’s a group of people tasked with moving the club forward as opposed to a couple of people. It got pushed through and the rest is history.”

Smith has since retained the services of four existing players in Danny Leonard, Alex Mulrooney Skinner, Simon Kabamba and Danny Rumbol. He has also completed six signings so far, with Laurence Harvey, Kyron Lightfoot and Joe Nelder the latest to follow him from Canterbury behind Dan Lawrence and Chris Saunders, and Luke Griffiths having joined from Faversham.

“The first thing I wanted to do was speak to the players that were at the club previously, some had already made their mind up that they were going to move on for whatever reason, so it was going to be difficult to turn them,” Smith admitted.

“The other ones really didn’t take too much persuading. They liked playing at the football club, they’ve got a real good bond with supporters which goes a long way, especially at this standard of football where you are averaging gates of 300 at games. There is always going to be that relationship and connection with the fans.”

“We added Laurence Harvey, I think he’ll be an excellent player for Herne Bay. He’s very experienced and has been with me for the last two seasons now and again I think he’ll stand out in that league as one of the top centre-halves so it’s a big coup really.”

With regards to the string of exciting new signings he had lined up at City prior to his sacking, Smith has hinted that there may yet be a chance for him to work with some of those in question.

He added: “Watch this space. I have kept in touch and spoken with those (who he had planned on taking to Canterbury), but at one point I was going down to Hythe as one of Sam Denly’s assistants, this was a day or so before the vote (on the takeover).

“I know it’s been publicised that lots has been going on behind the scenes but it’s something I didn’t really expect to happen, so I had spoken to players but really it was for further down the line because I didn’t have a job.

“A couple of those players have made agreements elsewhere and it’s their prerogative to do that, but you never know what can happen in the future.”

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