New-era at Broadbridge Heath as Carney’s return leads impressive additions

Football, Ryman League South Division: Horsham FC  Lee Curney. Pic Steve Robards  SR1626377 SUS-160920-151308001
Football, Ryman League South Division: Horsham FC Lee Curney. Pic Steve Robards SR1626377 SUS-160920-151308001

Broadbridge Heath manager Steve Painter believes the addition of Lee Carney and a number of other impressive signings signifies a new-era at the club.

There’s a buzz of excitement at the Bears with their incoming new ground, but also with what could be a solid season in the Premier Division.

The experienced Carney has returned to the club he first started out as a junior, before long spells at Horsham and Three Bridges.

And along with the additions of goalkeeper Mark Fox (Horsham YMCA), Harri Nourse, Ben Chowney (both Roffey) and Ben Hands (Cowfold) and Glen Woodburn, Painter believes he has boosted his changing room experience.

Heath are also keen to go along the route of ‘commitment and loyalty’ at the club, with Painter explaining: “We will have a completely different changing room at the club and it’s all change at Broadbridge Heath. The focus now will be commitment and loyalty towards training and the club itself.

“To have a bit more experience around the squad was my aim over the summer. Predominantly during my time with the club, we have had a lot of youth and under-18 players. Last year was a bit difficult as five or six of them had to play first team football and we rushed them through too quickly.

“I wanted a bit more experience in the changing room this year and I am really, really looking forward to the season now - the whole club is to be honest, we are excited.”

As well as retaining the vast majority of last season’s squad, Andy Waddingham is back and has signed after two years in Vietnam and while, although goalkeeper Michael Chester has signed, he will not feature much. On his new additions, Painter said: “Lee is a massive signing for us. I am really pleased that one came off. In his own words, he wants to enjoy his football again and he is playing here with a few of his friends.

“It’s a real statement of intent that one. Him and Glen will be in the changing room and changing a few mentalities.

“With the two Bens and Harri - I have been after them for a while. It’s their first go at this level, but all three are capable of stepping up to the mark. They have not missed a training session, either apart from holidays and that is the attitude I want here now.

“The problem I have now is picking the squad.

“There is positive news on the ground as well, which is good. We have all been waiting a long time at the club to be in a position to attract the type of players that we are now.”

Not re-signing for the club are Alex Parsons, who is taking a break from football, Tim Martin, who is off travelling and Gicu Iordache, who has joined Chichester.

Painter added: “I was particularly disappointed to lose Gicu as we were really excited about him, but we wish all those guys the best.”

Heath kick-off the new season away to Hassocks on Saturday.