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Maidstone United sign trialists Ryan Johnson and Ibby Akanbi

Maidstone's friendly at East Grinstead was the catalyst for Ryan Johnson's move to the Gallagher.

The experienced centre-half joined United on a one-year deal yesterday, having impressed on trial.

Johnson, whose former clubs include Maidenhead and Dartford, came to John Still's attention playing for East Grinstead last season.

Ryan Johnson has joined Maidstone Picture: Steve Terrell
Ryan Johnson has joined Maidstone Picture: Steve Terrell

He asked Wasps boss Matt Longhurst about him when the sides met a fortnight ago and that set the wheels in motion.

Stones head of football Still said: "My pal is the manager at East Grinstead, which is why we played them.

"I saw Ryan play once last year and really liked him and when we played them the other day, I asked my pal about him.

"He said, 'he's going somewhere else, he's miles too good for us'.

"I told him I liked him but he said, 'half the problem, John, is he's got his own business and he can't give football as much time as he'd like'.

"I took his number and rang him and he said his business was a bit more established now, so he could probably play higher.

"With that I said, 'come in for a couple of weeks, so I can see if what I see is what I see', and he's proved himself to be an accomplished player.

"He's a good player - and he's a man.

"We needed an extra centre-half.

"There were one or two we could have got but I wasn't convinced.

"I always knew I'd look at Ryan and it's worked out for us."

Johnson was one of two signings announced by Maidstone yesterday, with striker Ibby Akanbi also on board for the new National League South season.

Akanbi was with Crystal Palace as a youngster before dropping into non-league and also caught the eye in friendlies.

Another forward, Matt McClure, has been on trial but any deal for the former Aldershot man will have to wait.

Still said: "I can't do anything at the moment. That's not to say it won't happen but it can't happen today."

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