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Maidstone United forward George Porter speaks about his return to football after year-long ban for betting on matches

George Porter is determined to make up for lost time after his year out of football.

He’s buzzing to be back after a 12-month ban for breaching FA betting rules and says he has unfinished business at Maidstone after a short spell there five years ago.

George Porter has unfinished business at Maidstone Picture: Steve Terrell
George Porter has unfinished business at Maidstone Picture: Steve Terrell

Porter was banned, and his Bromley contract terminated, after he admitted placing 473 bets on matches between December 2011 and May 2019.

The former Leyton Orient and Burnley forward has learned from the experience and Maidstone have landed a player who couldn’t be more fired up after a year away from the game he loves.

“It’s been tough, I’m not going to lie,” said Porter, 28.

“I kept ticking over but there was only so much I could do.

“Obviously Covid hit the season, so I didn’t miss a whole season, but I’m just glad to be back out on the pitch.

“A year’s a long time, so I’m buzzing to be back.

“It was literally a few hundred bets over a nine-year period when I was really young.

“I just did accumulators, that’s all it was, and they did me from the start.

“It was quite a blow but it was nothing malicious.

“Bromley were really good with me at the time.

“I had a contract with them but the FA rule was to terminate the contract, so that’s what happened.

“It’s something I’ve definitely learned from because it was a low point, missing football for that long.

George Porter is buzzing to be back in football Picture: Steve Terrell
George Porter is buzzing to be back in football Picture: Steve Terrell

“I’ve been playing since I was 18 and to come out for a year was tough.

“I didn’t have an income but something good came out of that because I’ve set up my own business, so I’m tying that in with football and it’s brilliant.

“It’s a commercial cleaning company, so I work for estate agents and we do end-of-tenancy cleaning, stuff like that. I’m on the books of two estate agents and it’s going well.

“I’ve come out the other side. I’m over it now and it’s made me even more hungry.”

Porter had a brief spell with Maidstone during their 2015 Ryman Premier title-winning season.

There was no doubting his talent but an internal matter meant Jay Saunders released him after only two months.

“I did have a few options but I felt like Maidstone was the place to come back to,” said Porter.

“There’s unfinished business here and I loved the set-up and the boys straight away.

“I think I came in for about 12 games last time.

“I was at a stage in my life, my career, where I didn’t know where I was at.

“I think I’ve grown up a lot now, settled down as a person and I look back at that time with a bit of regret really, because I’d have liked to have done well there.

"I’m still in contact with Jay, he’s a good friend of mine now.”

Porter would go on to make a habit of performing well and scoring against Maidstone for Bromley, winding up Stones fans in the process.

George Porter makes his point Picture: Steve Terrell
George Porter makes his point Picture: Steve Terrell

Those same supporters are delighted to see him back in United colours.

He said: “It was nothing personal against Maidstone.

“Obviously they’re well-known for bringing a lot of fans and that’s something I like.

“I like playing in front of a lot of fans, especially a lot of away fans.

“I like winding people up, that’s just me, and I did score a few times.

“The team I’m playing for, I’m going to give 110 per cent.

“I’ll wind everyone else up and I want to win.

“Now I’m at Maidstone, we’ve got a good opportunity, a good group of boys and I honestly believe if we stick together and grind out performances, we’ve got a good chance.”

Porter laid into team-mate Joe Ellul during Maidstone’s FA Cup win at Hendon last weekend.

George Porter in action for Maidstone at Hendon Picture: Steve Terrell
George Porter in action for Maidstone at Hendon Picture: Steve Terrell

Manager Hakan Hayrettin loves that edge to his game, something the team have probably lacked in recent times.

Porter said: “Hak said we’ve got a lot of characters in the changing room this year.

“Some people can give it, some people can take it, that’s part of football.

“You’ve got to take it on the chin. I spoke to Joe after.

“In fact, as soon as the ball came on to the pitch, that was it, done, I had my say, he had his say, and that was it.

“When we were warming down, he said ‘I love that, George’ and I said the same thing.

“We’re mates off the pitch, we’re going to be warriors on the pitch.”

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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