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Departing Tonbridge Angels goalkeeper Jonny Henly thanks his two managers, Steve McKimm and Jay Saunders, from his seven years playing at Longmead

Jonny Henly has praised the two managers he worked under at Tonbridge after moving on from the club.

Many players who have spent as long as goalkeeper Henly did at one club - more than seven years before he departed at the end of the 2023/24 campaign - will have worked under their fair share of bosses, such is the way in modern-day football.

Jonny Henly played more than 300 games for Tonbridge Angels. Picture: Dave Couldridge
Jonny Henly played more than 300 games for Tonbridge Angels. Picture: Dave Couldridge

But National League South Angels have bucked that trend in recent years.

Henly was signed by former Tonbridge manager Steve McKimm, initially on loan in March 2017, and went on to make more than 300 appearances.

In their time together at Longmead, they won their Isthmian Premier super play-off final in May 2019 and also reached the First Round of the FA Cup a year later.

Jay Saunders replaced McKimm at the helm two years ago and has continued to help solidify the club’s position at Step 2.

Henly, who has signed for Isthmian Premier Folkestone this month, said: “I came in under Steve McKimm, who I’m still really close to.

“He’s just a top bloke. I cannot say enough good things about him - not just as a manager but off the pitch, as well. I still speak to him regularly.

“He has gone on to do some really good things with Cray Valley. They’ve got promoted and will be in the same division as us.

“We had that promotion together at Tonbridge and it will stick with me. That super play-off Final was a bit mental!

“Then, obviously, I’ve played under Jay, as well.

“He also was really good for me and Blacky (assistant Lloyd Blackman) is a top bloke. I cannot say enough good things about them.

“It was tough with injuries and stuff last year, but I’m sure they will push on now and push for the play-offs again.

“It was nice to only have two managers there.

“Sometimes, it’s a bit of a revolving door. Hopefully, I don’t have any more in the future!”

The departure of Henly was announced by 14th-placed Tonbridge prior to their season-ending 2-2 home draw against St Albans, a match which presented the fans’ favourite with an opportunity to have a proper send-off.

“Obviously, it’s a bit sad when you leave somewhere after so long,” noted Henly, who originally joined from Hemel.

“I spoke to the club and everyone has to leave at some point.

“For me, it was good to go when I can still play, I’m not falling apart or anything. The club is in a good position now.

“They’re a well-established side in National League South, they’re going in a really good direction.

“They have got great staff there and a great chairwoman (Sophie Purves). For me, having had eight years there, it was the right time for a new challenge.

“They’re going in the right direction and I left on a really good note. I wanted to part on good terms.

“It was nice to have a send-off and to get to say goodbye to everyone.

“You go to a club to try and achieve something with them - that’s the most important thing for me.

“So, it was great to get promoted and we had a few good cup runs along the way, as well.”

Midfielder Jordan Higgs has moved to rivals Maidstone after leaving Tonbridge.

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