With pre-season training starting this coming week, along with the fixtures due to be released Friday as well, I thought it best that we have a quick run down over the changes that have happened around Concord Rangers over the summer so far.
First the outgoings, the players/staff that have moved on. It was expected but Ben Greenhalgh, who played for the Beachboys for the second half of last season, has been signed by Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Premier League. Ben became an integral part of the Concord team and I’m sure I speak for every Beachboys fan when I wish Ben the best of luck north of the border! Also moving up levels is defender Matt Fry, who has been signed by Conference Premier side Dartford, and will be looking to play a big part in their push for promotion into the Football League.
We’ve also seen the departure of physiotherapist Steve Wright after one season with the club as he looks to move forward with his career. Steve, or simply “physio” as many knew him as (including myself) was called into action on many occasions through the season, playing a big part in treating Harry Elmes after his leg injury against Thurrock, and seeing to the various knocks and injuries our players picked up over the season (see Danny Spendlove, John Easterford etc). Goalkeeper Dale Brightly, who returned to the club to cover when loanee Luke Chambers was recalled by Southend, has moved to the other side of the island, signing for Canvey Island FC, whilst young starlet Sammy Knott has moved to Aveley in order to get regular first team football at Ryman Premier level.
Over the summer (if you can really call it that) some other changes have been made or are in the process of being made at Concord Rangers in preparation for our inaugural Conference South season. One major change will be noticed on your first return to Thames Road, with new gates being installed where the players enter the pitch, and an alteration to the main turnstiles upon entering the ground. The kits are also changing, with Under Armour being the makers and Canvey-based company Design 4 Print becoming our main home sponsor.
Now for the incoming players, a quick rundown of the new additions to the Concord Rangers family who are looking to push the club forward in the Conference South. The first new signing announced was a returning face, that of Paul Goodacre. A vastly experienced defender who has been at Conference South level for some time, Paul previously spent a loan spell at Thames Road during the 2011/12 Ryman Premier season. Another familiar face was next to be announced, this one being Gary Ogilvie, who was a part of the Beachboys team that won the Essex Senior League & Gordon Brasted Trophy back in 2007/08. Since then Oggers has spent his time on a scholarship playing for Florida Tech, and more recently with FC London of Ontario in the Canadian League. Gary also spent some time with the Beachboys during the 2011/12 season, scoring against Kingstonian & Horsham.
Two more players were announced recently, the first being Jamie Butler who is a 21 year old goalkeeper who spent last season playing for Ryman Premier side Met Police. Having a fully signed custodian of the goal will be a welcome sight for the club after spending most of last season with ‘keepers on loan (Tom Lovelock, Luke Chambers). Additionally, Canvey-based defender/midfielder Bradley Hamilton adds more experience to the Beachboys side, having signed from League One side Colchester United. And finally the new physio for the Concord Rangers 2013/14 will be Mike Hine, who is a Wickford based lad due to complete his MSc (Masters Degree) in Sports Therapy from London Metropolitan University shortly.
Plenty of goings on at Thames Road, with probably a few more things to come as pre-season gets under way. Needless to say though, I am looking forward to being a part of it as the Concord Rangers family progress!