Sheppey United players were so impressed by an opposition forward that they asked the management to sign him - and they have.
Jacob Lambert has joined from Crowborough Athletic after an impressive season, none more so than when he played against The Ites.
Sheppey beat Crowborough 5-2 in May’s Southern Counties East Challenge Cup final but the attacking prowess of Lambert caused them plenty to think about on the day.
Assistant boss Marcel Nimani said the management team already had their eye on the pacey forward before their own players picked him out as one to sign.
“It was the first time in my three years at the club I had experienced anything like that,” said Nimani.
“Quite a few of our own players came to us and asked us to sign him. It is very unusual but we delivered for them!
“The hardest thing to do as a player is to earn the confidence and the respect of your peers and when you do that you are clearly doing something right.
“We have kept an eye on his progress, he had a really good season last year with Crowborough and now he has had a really good season behind him.
“He’s a year older and wiser and has experience of playing regular football at a senior level.
“Out of all the young players that we faced in the league last season, he was probably one of the better ones.”
It proved to be a good week on the transfer front for the Isthmian League newcomers as they also fended off other clubs to re-sign exciting winger Danny Leonard.
Leonard impressed so much for Sheppey during the lockdown friendly tournament last spring that Dartford snapped him up. But after a season with the National South side he became available again and Sheppey were determined to get their man back, paying the Darts an undisclosed fee to bring him back to Holm Park.
“We are hoping Danny Leonard will be an outstanding addition for us,” said Nimani.
”We had competition from quite a few clubs for his signature, one in particular who were keen to get him, but we were the ones who wanted him the most.
“We hope that now we can help him in getting to the levels he aspires to play at. He will come to us with more experience, a more confident player and he will be stronger.
“We will give him the opportunity to get back to the performances that he was showing for us when he last played here. We managed to get the best out of him the previous two years and he was so effective for us that he got the call to go to step two and we think we can get him back to those levels.”
Sheppey are back in pre-season training tomorrow (Thursday) and have their first game on Monday, at home to Kennington (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Ites have let three of last season’s squad depart. Henry Dasofunjo, Max Oldham and Frankie Dolby have all left.
The club said: “All three played a part in our successes last season and leave the club with our best wishes for the future.”
Sheppey are still short of a centre-back but won’t be short of options. Three players have agreed to train with them.
Nimani said: “Two are from Step four and one has an incredible CV. These are established first-team players so it is not a trial for them, it is just about finding out who can fit in. Players want to know whether this is the right club for them and vice versa.
“We are looking forward to getting the boys back together. We stayed in touch but we’ve missed each other. It shows that when you are away how much you miss each other.”