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Maidstone United midfielder Saidou Khan narrowly pipped to the KentOnline player-of-the-year 2019/20 by Tonbridge Angels defender Sonny Miles

Tonbridge Angels defender Sonny Miles has been voted KentOnline’s star man for 2019/20 and the player was keen to thank the family that continues to make his football career possible.

Miles pipped Maidstone United Saidou Khan to the prestigious honour after close to 3,000 votes on the sport website following our selection for KentOnline team-of-the-year.

Sonny Miles in action for Tonbridge Angels Picture: David Couldridge
Sonny Miles in action for Tonbridge Angels Picture: David Couldridge

In a close contest, the two players were separated by just 11 votes, with both receiving over 1,000 each after we put the poll online last week.

Miles, who turns 30 this year, has spent just a season away from the Angels - when he turned out for Maidstone United - but the commitment to the task isn’t his alone.

He said: “Families go unmentioned a lot of the time but I would imagine it’s the same for most non-league players in that they couldn’t do it without their support.

“I would like to say thanks to my wife Sam and the kids, they let me do it! I have one little baby, she is nearly three, and an older boy who is 12. You need them massively.

Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm congratulates his captain Sonny Miles Picture: David Couldridge
Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm congratulates his captain Sonny Miles Picture: David Couldridge

“If your missus is ill, unless it’s serious, you can’t go ringing the gaffer and saying I can’t play, she’s got a headache, I’ve got to look after the kids. They have to get on with it and I don’t think people think of it like that.

“I think people just think we get a bit of extra money for running around, but it is tough. I leave my house at 5.30am for work. If you get back from an away game at 1am you get a few hours kip before work again and it is tough, but we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it, would we?

“This is probably the first time in a long time we have had an extended period off, it’s normally just a month or so and then we are back doing something, either road running or preparing, and it has been nice to spend a bit ot time with the family and kids.

“It can be difficult being a non-league player, in terms of what you miss out on and stuff. You go to work on a Monday, you come home, you work Tuesday and in the evening you either train or play in the evening, you are knackered on a Wednesday, you train Thursday, you rest up Friday for a game Saturday and it just keeps going around.”

Maidstone United Saidou Khan came close to being named the KOL star man Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone United Saidou Khan came close to being named the KOL star man Picture: Steve Terrell

Miles, who is a construction site manager when working his day job, has been with the Angels since a boy so his family are well drilled with it now.

This season he’s been wearing the captain’s armband and he’s been happy with the senior role, playing alongside Rian Bray in the centre of defence.

“I have enjoyed it,” he said. “I played in the Conference South when I was younger and I was the one looking up to the players around me, but with Parky (Tom Parkinson) being out for a while now I have been captain and instead of playing alongside a more senior player I have been the senior one. I think Rian has played nearly every minute of every game and it was nice to have played alongside him.

“I must have been 21, 22 playing in the Conference South last time, playing alongside people like Ben Judge and he had been there in the Ryman promotion days, he helped me massively. I like to think I have done the same for some of the players there with me.

Tonbridge Angels defender Rian Bray heads just wide. He's partnered Sonny Miles at the back this season Picture: David Couldridge
Tonbridge Angels defender Rian Bray heads just wide. He's partnered Sonny Miles at the back this season Picture: David Couldridge

“It has been a good unit this year. We have let in some goals but we have put in some very good performances. Overall I believe it has been a massive success.”

Angels boss Steve McKimm has agreed to stay on next season - whenever that happens - and Miles would like to be there too.

He said: “There hasn’t been much chat about what is going on next year but it is hard for people until they know what is going on. I would like to stay at Tonbridge until the end of my career and some might say that may be soon!

"I am 30 in October and I am slow enough as it is. Things can only get worse, can’t they?!”

Angels were promoted last year back into National South but were looking a good bet to pull clear of the lower end of the table after an upturn in results.

Sonny Miles has had just one season away from Tonbridge Angels Picture: Martin Apps
Sonny Miles has had just one season away from Tonbridge Angels Picture: Martin Apps

Miles said: “I rate the season highly because people do underestimate the money that gets thrown around non-league, especially National League.

“There aren’t any big hitters at Tonbridge, getting silly money. Everyone is getting pretty much the same and it is a good club to be at, a good environment which the gaffer and Barry (Moore) and his staff create and people want to play there.

“It is a good club and throughout all of those hard times that we have had before, one thing I would say is that every single person got paid their money. That is something players hold in high regard. It is a great club and the board have done really well to keep it together.”

Asked about how he felt about being named the season’s star man in Kent, he said: “It is nice. Some of the boys text and phoned, to say congratulations [that I was in the team]. I don’t necessarily think I deserve to win, there are some good players in there, look at the likes of Taylor at Cray Wanderers, who scored 30 goals or whatever this season.

“There are some top players in there. Thanks to the people who voted, I appreciate it, and now at least my mum can step away from the computer!”

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