Published: 06:37, 22 September 2021
| Updated: 06:39, 22 September 2021
Captain Kane Rowland says Sittingbourne supporters are by far the best he’s ever known.
Rowland, made skipper by manager Darren Blackburn over the summer, is driven to succeed by his affection for the club and their fans.
The striker has played for Whitstable, Folkestone and Ramsgate but it’s the Brickies faithful who’ve made the biggest impression.
“I really appreciated getting the captaincy, it was a pleasure to be offered it,” said Rowland.
“Darren’s been a really good manager for me, he’s such a nice guy and very honest as well.
“It’s a brilliant club, one of the best I’ve been at, and the fans are by far the best I’ve known.
“You want to perform well for them. It’s not just any old club where you’re just playing football, there’s a lot more to it than that.
“It’s the second time I’ve been here and I don’t know how many appearances I’ve made but it must be close to treble figures.”
As is often the case with strikers who wear the armband, Rowland - the club’s golden boot winner in his first spell at Woodstock - is no ranter and raver.
He’s thoughtful in his approach and lets his football do the talking.
“It doesn’t change things too much but, at the same time, it’s a big responsibility,” he said.
“There’s a lot of other experienced players, which helps, people like George Crimmen, Nick Treadwell and Freeman Rogers, and you want leaders all round the team.
“I kind of lead by example by working hard, I’m not much of a shouter.
“I like to keep everyone positive, you don’t want to be moaning, it’s more encouragement.”
Sittingbourne missed out on a third straight win when they went down 2-1 at Hythe on Tuesday last week.
But it’s been encouraging start for the Brickies, who sit seventh in Isthmian South East going into their home game against Phoenix on Saturday.
Rowland is off the mark for the season but it’s Johan Caney-Bryan and Ahmed Abdulla who lead the scoring charts with four each.
“It’s good to see other people scoring,” said Rowland. “That’s what you need if you’re going to have a successful season.
“Johan’s playing really well, and I enjoying playing with him, Abs as well, he’s a good character and a really good addition.
“We’ve probably got a little bit more experience in the side this year but there’s still a few young lads as well.
“Hopefully we can be more consistent than usual and be in that top half and maybe in with a shout of the play-offs.
“Sittingbourne are always looked at as a bottom-half team and it would be really nice if we could change that.”
The Brickies are set to benefit from a new stadium if the Highsted Park development goes ahead.
They’ve thrown their weight behind proposals and Rowland said: “It’s a huge thing at the moment.
“It’s been in the news a lot and it would be massive for the club if it happens. It would put Sittingbourne on the map.
“I think it would bring more youth players to the club, which you won’t see the effects of straight away, but down the line there will be a lot more breaking into the first team.
“There are so many clubs in the area competing for the same players, it’s always easier if you can bring your own players through.”