Author Archives: Leigh @beakster99

BTFC gear up for trip to Maidstone

On Friday 20th July, Billericay Town gear up for a trip to Kent to take on National League opponents, Maidstone United, in the Blues’ fourth friendly match of the current pre-season. BTFC’s preparation games have ranged from an impressive draw at National League, Ebbsfleet United, defeat away at level seven new-comers, Beaconsfield Town, and a resumption of normal service with a comfortable win away at Isthmian North side, Aveley FC.

Photo: Maidstone United

Maidstone’s pre-season fixtures have gone very well. Convincing 5-0 wins have been recorded away at Isthmian Premier side, Folkestone Invicta, and, at home versus Nottingham Forest U-23’s. On Tuesday, the Stones faced their toughest test to date in pre-season against a Brentford ‘B’ side that played passing football and offered sufficient competition to take a 2-0 lead. Stones, however, showed good character in front of their home fans to battle back to win the match 3-2.

Whilst results are less relevant than performances in early pre-season, matches played so far have been important for Stones’ players like ex-Charlton and Gillingham midfielder, Ollie Muldoon, and former Norwich City striker and Jamaican international, Jamar Loza. Both suffered lengthy absences from the first team last season due to injuries. Invited back for pre-season, a series of promising performances saw both retained for the 2018-19 campaign.

Early indications are that trialist Michee Efete has turned in impressive stints in the right-back position and, despite missing on out on Tuesday due to illness, new signing George McLennan looks to have brought in extra quality in the left-back position. Stones still look to be in the market for a reserve keeper to challenge Lee Worgan and looked at two trialists versus Brentford.

Any Stones supporter watching their pre-season games will likely be excited by the two new strikers brought in to bolster the attack. Recent signings Shamir Mullings and Joe Quigley appear to have hit the ground running with goals on debut and a series of good all-round performances.

Ex-Forest Green Rovers striker, Mullings, 24, offers a strong presence up front. At 6ft 5ins, he also constitutes a considerable aerial threat and looks a real crowd-pleaser. In addition, highly rated front-man Quigley, 21, an Irish U-21 international, joins after his release from Bournemouth.

With winger, Blair Turgott, signed permanently from Boreham Wood, and ex-Palace youngster, Andre Coker, both showing signs of their quality in pre-season, threat in the final third appears to have improved substantially. A return to form for Jamar Loza is an added bonus.

Getting the signature of sought after centre-back, Alex Finney, is a huge achievement with the ex-QPR youngster now in permanently. Alongside him, Will De Havilland, also signed after a successful loan spell, shows Maidstone can attract talented youngsters released from league clubs. In midfield, highly rated Crystal Palace U-23 skipper, Michael Phillips has joined permanently, and ex-Arsenal youth and Woking centre-back Jordan Wynter offers options at the back or in midfield. Experienced campaigner and skipper, Stuart Lewis, is retained and brings strong work-rate to central midfield.

Although pre-season is a time to test formations, Maidstone look like the standard starting set-up for the team is a 4-3-3. This is by no means the only way they play with the team very capable of shifting to 4-4-1-1. Should the latter set-up be utilised, this could involve the trickery and pace of Andre Coker tucked in behind either Quigley or Mullings. Although BTFC have played a lot of formations last year, the Blues have certainly deployed both of these systems regularly. It will be interesting to see how both coaches match up the teams on the day.

With BTFC boasting a highly experienced outfit, with attractive options across the pitch, this has all the hall-marks of a National League level match-up. With the Blues having identified defence as an area of focus, the arrival of ex-Torquay and Truro City centre-back, Ben Gerring, former Dagenham stopper, Scott Doe, and ex-Dulwich Hamlet defender, Ricky Hayles provides stiff competition for places. A hard afternoon looks in store for the BTFC defence with Maidstone’s new look strike force now fully firing.

That’s not to say that BTFC won’t pose their own problems to test the Stones’ rear-guard. In attacking areas, the injection of extra pace and trickery provided by new arrivals, Moses Emmanuel, and right winger, Connor Hunte, add a touch of attacking verve to the team. With 57-goal Jake Robinson, fleet-footed left winger, Ricky Modeste, and Adam Cunnington regularly weighing in with goals, BTFC appear well prepared to cause any team defensive problems.

How times have changed for Billericay Town supporters. For me, returning to the Gallagher Stadium has a special poignancy, having made the trip in October 2016 for the Blues’ FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifier. Despite a plucky performance, the match was lost 3-1 as the superior quality of the Stones side, exemplified by a quality double-strike from Alex Flisher, eased them through to the next round. Only Lee Worgan remains from either line-up that day.

The result, which matched the form book, was no great surprise. However, something completely different marked my visit as the trip to the Stones brought a mix of admiration and envy for the Kent club’s extensive infrastructure investment. Looking on at the (now) 4,200 capacity ground packed with families, impressive extended East stand, and modernised bar area, my immediate thought was to wish somewhat fancifully for the same at my own club.

I enjoyed the day at Maidstone and accepted that any transformation of BTFC’s facilities into something resembling the Stones’ model was only the stuff of dreams. We lived in different times back then. Money was tight, crowds at the New Lodge were nowhere near the 1,400+ seen at Maidstone that day, and the height of Blues ambition was to once more reach the National South League.

All that, of course, changed in December 2016, when new owner, Glenn Tamplin, took over ownership of the club. Substantial investment has flowed both into the playing side and, importantly, off-the-field too. Extensive renovation of the ground has taken place, a new main stand (“Harry Parker Stand”) has been built and construction of a separate bar area and VIP lounge has been completed.

All combined, any BTFC supporter will now be proud of the facilities on offer at the club and can be comfortable that lofty on pitch ambitions can be supported by investment in the club infrastructure. Ambitions of playing in the National South by 2018/19 have now been achieved. Looking forward, with the objective of promotion every two seasons until reaching the Football League, BTFC can now aspire to the same level of upward mobility as the Stones.

Maidstone prove that sustained success and fast-track promotions can be achieved. Back in summer 2011, a struggling Stones side were relegated to the Isthmian Division One South and National League football must have seemed a distant dream. Fortunes would improve, however, under the stewardship of player-manager, Jay Saunders, appointed in March 2011 and momentum gained from a move to a new purpose-built Gallagher stadium in July 2012.

Secure in their new home, Maidstone United would make incredible progress up the pyramid. In just five years, the Kent side would seal three promotions under Saunders. By summer 2016, the Stones had completed an astonishing rise to the top tier of Non-League football. Seven years after his appointment, Saunders remains in situ as the second longest serving manager in the top five tiers of football. With National League finishes of 14th and 17th last season, Maidstone have remained competitive at the higher level and have raised the budget for 2018-19 to target their objective of a Top 10 finish in the National league.

Back to the match and meeting Maidstone represents a big test for BTFC. Playing National league sides is all part of the preparation for where the club wants to be. Games such as this provide a vital barometer to gauge progress as the team prepare for life at the higher level. Similarly, for Maidstone, BTFC represent their most challenging opposition so far in pre-season and offers an early opportunity to evaluate the new signings and assess improvements made to the squad.

All that remains to be said is enjoy the game if you are going and have a safe trip.

Billericay Town FC Last Starting Line Up (V Aveley FC)
1 Josh Strizovic 2 Joe Kizzi 3 Hamilton Debunga 4 Ben Gerring 5 Dean Inman 6 Sam Deering 7 Ricky Modeste 8 Simon Walton 9 Jake Robinson 10 Danny Waldren 11 Jake Howells
SUBS: 12 Moses Emmanuel 14 Adam Cunnington 15 Rickie Hayles 16 Scott Doe 17 Jamie O’Hara 18 Jordy Mongoy 19 Connor Hunte 20 Tambeson Eyong

Maidstone Last Starting Line-Up (V Brentford ‘B’)
1 Matt Funnell 16 Seth Nana Twumasi 5 Will De Havilland 6 Alex Finney 25 Michee Efete 4 Jordan Wynter 8 Stuart Lewis 10 Jack Paxman 7 Andre Coker 23 Jack Richards 15 Shamir Mullings
SUBS: 9 Joe Quigley 14 Jamar Loza 21 Ollie Muldoon 22 Michael Phillips, Elliott Capel, Jeremy Arthur, David Ajiboye

Match report: Aveley 0 Billericay Town 3

Billericay Town’s pre-season preparations got back on track last night at Parkside as they picked up a convincing 3-0 victory versus Aveley after a disappointing loss against Southern Premier League newcomers Beaconsfield Town On Thursday.

With all squad members – bar Callum Kennedy – in action, this performance was more in line with the promising showing in the first pre-season game at National League Ebbsfleet United, which saw the Blues earn a 1-1 draw.

Billericay Town boss, Harry Wheeler was happy with the result and performance stating on the club (BTTV) channel that: “It was nice to get the clean sheet, I have always said clean sheets win leagues, overall very pleased”. With new central defender, Ben Gerring, forced off with a bad cut on 6 minutes, the early introduction of Scott Doe into the BTFC defence emphasised the club’s options after a successful recruitment campaign for the new season.

With the early evening sun warming the crowd on a beautiful summer’s evening, it was BTFC who were first to shine. The opener came on 5 minutes when Jake Howells profited from a favourable rebound in the six yard box as keeper Brown pushed out a close-range shot from Jake Robinson. Sam Deering, busy in an advanced role behind the main striker, supplied the ammunition with a neat through ball from the left hand side into the Aveley penalty area.

Towards the end of a solidly contested first half, it would be Sam Deering once again who made the difference. On 43 minutes, the BTFC play-maker registered on the score-sheet with a precise, low effort from all of 30 yards. Advancing towards goal unchallenged, Sam would accept the invitation to shoot home.

A two goal difference at half-time was harsh on a bright Aveley side that played good football. Playing out from the back via Gibbs to the composed James Love in the centre of the pitch, the Millers put together a number of neat passing moves across midfield.

Comfortable in possession, and provoking danger down the left-hand side via the lively, Freeman, during the first half, Aveley stretched Billericay at times. Penetration in the final third was, however, thwarted by BTFC’s defensive screen.

Half-time saw a number of changes on both sides with O’Hara and Hunte on for Billericay in place of trialist, Hamilton Debunga, and midfielder Simon Walton. The former Leeds and Sutton Utd man impressed in central midfield, where he passed the ball well and looked an imposing presence. Jake Howells impressed with his flexibility, moving deeper to play left-back. On the Aveley side, Freddie Gard entered play.

For the second half, Aveley were out of the traps early with Blues young reserve keeper, Strizovic, who played the full game, called into action. A smart save from Freeman with his legs kept the clean-sheet intact. From BTFC, O’Hara looked bright and sharp, injecting further quality into the Blues play with a series of intelligent passes. Hunte showed promise on the ball, appeared comfortable taking on opposing players, and looks like an exciting prospect.

By the 55th minute, BTFC made wholesale changes subbing five players including defensive changes with Tambeson Eyong and Ricky Hayles coming on at Right-back and centre-back respectively. Wide right, trialist, Jordy Mangoy, was introduced and, up front, speedy forward Moses Emmanuel and Adam Cunnington were introduced to influence play. Robinson, Inman, Deering, Modeste, and Kizzi made way after accumulating vital minutes.

As the second half progressed, BTFC started to assert their ascendancy. With full-backs pushing very high, Aveley found themselves on the back-foot. The Blues third goal would come during this period. A noticeable upgrade this season at BTFC has come in the pace department up front. This was exemplified by the third goal in the 64th minute. A swift break from the impressive Emmanuel saw him burst clear of the Aveley defence. Unselfishly he squared to Mangoy, who finished instantly, guiding the ball across the keeper into the far corner.

Aveley made a series of substitutions, including bringing on striker Tony Martin, who went close twice in the 79th and 80th minutes. The second chance came following a perfect through ball that found him unmarked in the Billericay penalty area. Unfortunately for Aveley, the finish was wide of the mark.

As the final whistle blew, it was time to reflect on a good work-out for both teams who harbour serious ambitions of promotion from their respective Leagues. BTFC move on to the next game at National League Maidstone Utd on Friday night while next stop for Aveley is away at Erith Town also on Friday.

Goals: Billericay Town 5′ Howells; 42′ Deering; 64′ Mangoy.

Aveley FC Starting Line Up:
1 Tim Brown 2 Ben Sampayo 3 Sam Cross 4 Connor Witherspoon 5 Harry Gibbs 6 James Love 7 Marcus Milner 8 Shad Ngandu 9 Tom Richardson 10 Alex Teniola 11 Andy Freeman
SUBS: 12 Garrett Kelly 14 Tony Martin 15 Freddie Gard 16 Jamie Dicks 17 George Doyle 18 Calvin Ekpiteta

Billericay Town FC Starting Line Up:
1 Josh Strizovic 2 Joe Kizzi 3 Hamilton Debunga 4 Ben Gerring 5 Dean Inman 6 Sam Deering 7 Ricky Modeste 8 Simon Walton 9 Jake Robinson 10 Danny Waldren 11 Jake Howells
SUBS: 12 Moses Emmanuel 14 Adam Cunnington 15 Rickie Hayles 16 Scott Doe 17 Jamie O’Hara 18 Jordy Mongoy 19 Connor Hunte 20 Tambeson Eyong.

Preview: Aveley v Billericay Town

On Monday 16th July, Billericay Town make the short trip to Thurrock to take on Isthmian League North side, Aveley FC, in their second friendly match of the current pre-season. BTFC enjoyed an impressive work-out last Saturday in the searing heat to earn a 1-1 draw at National League high-flyers, Ebbsfleet FC.

Ambitious Aveley take on Billericay in what will be, if we exclude the reserve side that lost to AFC Sudbury, their fifth match of pre-season. A comfortable 4-0 home victory over Thurlow Nunn outfit, FC Clacton, last Thursday (5th July) was followed, last Saturday, by an impressive showing, at home, in a 2-4 loss versus National South side, East Thurrock United. Dartford, also of the National South, however, provided a stern test for the Millers at Parkside on Monday night, as a strong side recorded a convincing 6-0 victory. The Millers friendly game v Southend United on Thursday night took place after this article was written.

For me, it’s impossible to write about Aveley FC without waxing lyrical about the fantastic, state-of-the art £4.8m stadium located a stone’s throw away from the Old Mill Field. Opened for the start of the 2017-18 campaign, it is entirely funded by the sale for housing of the previous site. It is with great credit to those involved at Aveley that their efforts ensured the story has a happy ending. Many clubs forced into selling their prime asset to support a move to another location have subsequently ended up homeless and been forced to ground-share to survive.

The new facility, which puts the Millers firmly on the Non-League map, also boasts a full size grass pitch beyond the main ground. In addition, 7v7 and 9v9 training pitches make this a valuable community asset. All facilities are used by the burgeoning academy and newly formed Aveley FC reserve side. The team, which plays in the Essex Senior Reserve League, is designed to offer a path into the first team via the impressive youth set-up. Over time, a production line of talent driving the club forward and sustaining its future is a clear possibility.

Blues fans will know Parkside better than most and are very grateful to Aveley for use of the facilities last season. Due to the problems of the inclement weather and draining issues with the pitch at the AGP, the Millers came through in our hour of need. With home games against Dorking, Harrow Borough, and Tonbridge Angels moved to Aveley, plus the bonus of a visit to see the Velocity Cup final, the South Essex stadium become a “home from home” for a while.

Whilst it’s impossible not to like a ground at which you have a 100% record, I was very impressed with the whole set-up of the 3,500 capacity stadium. With a large function room, very wide bar-area, which guarantees prompt service at the busiest of times, and excellent vantage points to watch the match in comfort, this is the very top end of Non-League football comfort. Add in that some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet are always on hand as volunteers and you have a great combination for any football fan.

Moving back to the football, Aveley clearly don’t want to have the best stadium in the Isthmian North where they have resided since being relegated in 2011/12. With eyes on the greater prize, the club have expressed an understandable aspiration to be at National South level within a three-to-five year time-frame. After a slow start last season, and change of manager in October 2017, the club improved in the second half of the campaign to finish out of danger in 14th.

With manager, ex-Brightlingsea Regent boss, James Webster, now able to benefit from a full pre-season with the players, and bring in a number of individuals to bolster the team in certain areas, Millers hopes of promotion are high. Webster’s track record of four promotions in seven seasons at Regent, and an Isthmian North title win in 2016-17, supports expectations. For 2018-19, Aveley have been installed as one of the early favourites to win the Isthmian North League and, in Webster, have a man that knows how to get promoted and win titles.

Retention and recruitment for the new campaign at the Millers has been impressive. Keeping leading goal-scorer, Alex Teniola, with 24 goals (12 at Thamesmead Town) last season, and proven at this level, is good business. In attack, ex-Regent hit-man, Tom Richardson, stays on to add threat up front and, after an injury-hit season, a fully fit Tony Martin provides an additional option. Whilst there have been more changes in personnel than usual, centre-back and skipper, Connor Witherspoon, and defensive partners, Ryan Cosson and (now also coach), Chris Bourne add continuity and solidity at the back.

In terms of new faces at Parkside, there are some exciting names to consider with a focus on young, promising players, often with a Brentwood Town connection. We highlight, Andy Freeman, at 21 years old, an exciting, goal-scoring attacking midfielder that has joined from Concord Rangers. With pace looking to be a key theme, two young full-backs have also been recruited. Harry Gibbs, aged 20 years, who can operate at right-back, returns after leaving last year. On the left, Sam Cross, 23, joins from current tenants, Grays Athletic. Further forward, pacey experienced winger, Marcus Milner, also joins from Ware and ex-Regent man, James Love, offers versatility across a number of positions.

Retention and recruitment at Billericay Town has also gone well and manager Harry Wheeler’s pre-season call for pace up front seems to have been answered. Speedy winger, Moses Emmanuel, joins from Sutton Utd and young right winger, Connor Hunte, 20, is an intriguing possibility if he can produce his talent regularly. Many liked the look of ex-Dagenham youth product, Jordy Mungoy, on the right of midfield who impressed in 45 minutes at Ebbsfleet. With experienced League campaigners such as Callum Kennedy, Jake Howells, and Simon Walton coming into the first X1, competition for places looks like intensifying.

With the emphasis still on gaining fitness, getting minutes under the belt, and impressing the respective bosses sufficiently to forward the claim for a place in the starting X1 come the time of the big kick-off, performance is more important than result. That said, I’m sure Aveley won’t want a repeat of the Dartford experience.

All that remains to be said is if you haven’t got to see a game at Aveley yet, don’t delay, it is an excellent football experience. As always, enjoy the game!

Shock at BTFC as Joe Ellul leaves Blues

In a surprising development, centre-back and new Billericay Town recruit Joe Ellul has indicated on Twitter today that he has made the decision not to join the Blues for the new season. Joe had finished the previous campaign at Maldon & Tiptree in the Isthmian North division.

It had originally been announced, in June 2018, that he would re-join the club for his third spell and be part of the Blues squad for the 2018-19 National South campaign. In total, Ellul made 60 appearances for the Blues, scoring 12 goals.

Although no specific details are known on why circumstances have changed, Joe has commented that he will not sign a deal with Billericay Town this season. In a message to the supporters, he added that “the fans will always hold a place with me but it’s a decision I have made, which I feel is the right one”.

The loss of Ellul, who had been recruited to the heart of the Town defence to replace the departing Rob Swaine, comes less than one month before the opening National South fixture away to Truro on Saturday August 4th.

With defensive cover provided by Joe Kizzi, named in the Bostik Premier Team of the Season at centre-back, club record signing, Dean Inman, and experienced campaigner, Ricky Hayles, BTFC do not lack options at the back. However, given expected demands on the squad over the season, it seems likely that the club will need to recruit a suitable replacement as soon as possible.

Ellul’s career at BTFC commenced in summer 2015 after being snapped up by manger, Craig Edwards. By February 2016, he had moved on to East Thurrock Utd. Forming a formidable centre-back pairing alongside, Ricky Hayles, he gained promotion to the National South with the Rooks via the play-offs’.

By January 2017, Joe returned to BTFC under new owner, Glenn Tamplin. However, after a period out of the regular starting X1, Joe agreed an amicable departure from the Blues and signed, in October 2017, for National League, Braintree Town, under his previous boss at Enfield Town, Brad Quinton.

After signing for Isthmian North side Maldon & Tiptree in February 2018, Joe had planned to make it third time lucky, joining up with BTFC for the 2018-19 season.

Sadly, today’s news of his early departure means that the fans will not get the chance to see him once more in a Blue shirt.

Preview: Ebbsfleet United v Billericay Town

Billericay Town face their first friendly game of the season this Saturday at National League side, Ebbsfleet FC. Having reported for the start of pre-season training last week, the game forms part of the initial preparations for what will be a demanding five-week program before the big kick-off on Saturday August 4th.

With the fixture announcement on Wednesday revealing a trip to Cornish side, Truro, as first opponents, Billericay Town face an immediate introduction to the longer distance travelling requirements brought by promotion to the National South League.

Ebbsfleet, who also began their pre-season last week are currently at their annual warm weather training camp in Portugal. Once they jet back from the Continent, the visit of Step Two new-boys Billericay commences their preparation for what looks a very exciting opening day fixture. For the first time ever, on the opening Saturday in August, the Fleet will face ex-League Two side, Chesterfield, who make the trip down from Derbyshire to the Kuflink Stadium.

The friendly fixture kicks-off at 12.30pm to accommodate anybody wanting to watch the England v Sweden World Cup Quarter-Final, kicking off at 3pm. With the big screen in the Main Stand Bar, supporters have the chance for a double portion of football on what should be a sunny afternoon.

Unlike the England game, the result of the friendly match should not be viewed as critical. This is primarily a chance for players to integrate into the team and improve their levels of fitness and match sharpness. An impressive performance versus a National League outfit is the primary consideration for the Billericay Town management team.

The choice of Ebbsfleet FC for a friendly match not only represents an appetising fixture for all but a chance to know more about a club not dissimilar to the Blues. In many ways the Fleet exhibit a similar profile to that of Billericay Town.

Both ambitious football clubs, funded by an individual benefactor, determined to achieve an ultimate objective of League football. In addition, as a point of comparison, it is worth considering the respective management teams. In Billericay Town’s Harry Wheeler and, the admittedly more experienced Daryl McMahon, we have two young (under-35), highly rated, hard-working, tactically astute managers.

For the fans, the game offers the first opportunity to assess the new signings made in the close season. On the back of successful previous campaigns, both sides retained the services of a high proportion of their playing staff for 2018-19. Billericay Town have brought in seven new players, with Joe Ellul, Ricky Hayles, Callum Kennedy, Jake Howells strengthening the back-line, Simon Walton increasing experience in central midfield, and, Connor Hunte and Moses Emmanuel adding extra pace up-front.

Ebbsfleet have two new signings, in Jack King and Ebou Adams, to increase options in central defence and midfield. With Billericay’s recruitment largely complete, Ebbsfleet may still be in the market for a new striker to supplement the ever-reliable goal-machine, Danny Kedwell.

Billericay’s visit to Kent represents a tough test against opposition that narrowly missed out on promotion to the Football League last year. A 6th place finish for Ebbsfleet saw the club progress to the play-off semi-finals before a narrow loss in extra-time to eventual winners, Tranmere Rovers.

The Essex side are, however, no strangers to success on the back of a treble winning season. With a side packed with National League experience – including two former Ebbsfleet players in Sam Deering and Adam Cunnington – the trip to one of the best sides in the top tier of Non-League football represents a good opportunity to evaluate the strength of the squad for the season ahead in the National South League.

Under impressive manager, Daryl McMahon, Ebbsfleet play an attractive brand of football often in a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation. Generally operating as a lone front man, Danny Kedwell, is ably assisted by the attacking trio of Corey Whitely, Luke Coulson, and the experience and passing quality from midfield of Andy Drury.

Whilst technically, the formation suggests a double-pivot, holding midfielder Dean Rance shone last season in a slightly freer role, allowing him to make forward runs, and inter-change with more defensive midfield partner, Jack Payne. We also think we should mention one of the best goal-keepers in Non-League football, Nathan Ashmore, who was in outstanding form last year.

Billericay Town have tended to shift formation during the course of the year shifting between a variety of line-up’s. However, we would characterise a blend of 4-3-3 and 3–5-2 as most representative of employed strategies to date.

With new personnel coming into the club suggesting a desire to play 3-5-2, it will be interesting to see how boss, Harry Wheeler, sets up. A pragmatic coach, with a growing track record in being flexible enough to make changes that deliver positive results, we expect him to keep his options open over pre-season.

After the long break since both sides last played in early May, the game offers a great chance to renew acquaintances with the players and get back down to your local club and support the early preparations for the start of the new campaign.

Further friendlies come thick and fast and seeing team shape coming together and new players adding extra options represents an exciting back-drop for the fans as the season preparation begins. Everybody going, please enjoy the game.

Tambeson Eyong out to prove his worth to Billericay Town

Report from Leigh @beakster99

We understand that free agent Tambeson Eyong, 28, is currently participating in pre-season training with Billericay Town. He has joined on a non-contract basis, and over the next five weeks, will be seeking to impress manager, Harry Wheeler, sufficiently to earn himself a shot at a National South campaign with the Blues.

Eyong, who had latterly featured for Heybridge Swifts in their run to the 2017/18 Isthmian South play-off final, is a familiar name to Blues fans. As an ex-BTFC player, he spent six months at the club after joining in January 2017.

Comfortable in midfield, or as an accomplished right-back, he could bring additional options for the squad and valuable cover on the right side of defence. With pace, power, and commitment, he has been described as a “versatile power-house” by one of his previous managers.

He is an East London lad who came through the youth system at West Ham United before moving to Dagenham & Redbridge and having a spell, aged 17, at Scottish Premier League side, Gretna. He then had short stints at Aveley and Harlow Town, before, aged 20, signing for Isthmian Premier side AFC Hornchurch in March 2010.

Identified as a talent with a capacity to learn quickly, he settled into a successful Urchin side making 179 appearances and scoring 7 goals over four years there. During that time, he played alongside recent BTFC signing, Ricky Hayles.

Having experienced promotion to the National South in 2012/13, and relegation the following year, Tam moved on to ambitious, high spending Margate FC in October 2014. This followed a very short spell at Canvey Island but was worth the move as he won promotion once again to the National South, once again via the play-offs.

In June 2015, he headed back to Canvey Island but finished the season returning to Hornchurch. The following season National League South side, Bishops Stortford came calling and he spent four months there until a managerial change saw him surplus to requirements.

Another spell back at Canvey Island was followed in January 2017, by his first arrival at the New Lodge. He featured regularly for Billericay Town until his contract was cancelled by mutual consent at the end of the season.

Last season saw Tam arrive and leave Grays Athletic without playing a game. In March 2018, he signed for Heybridge Swifts and introduced himself on his debut with a goal of the season contender from 25 yards v Haringey Borough.

With a track record at the top of the Isthmian Premier, and experience of National South football, Tam has every chance of proving his worth to Billericay Town. Competition for places in an experienced squad is tough but, should he do well in pre-season training, he offers valuable experience and flexibility in several positions.

Matt Paine leaves Billericay Town FC

Report from Leigh @beakster99

Billericay Town FC has announced the departure of midfielder, Matt Paine, who leaves to focus on his career in the police force. Matt signs out with many happy memories of his time at the club, securing the treble of the Bostik premier Title, the Velocity Cup, and the Essex Senior Cup in his single season at the AGP.

Having joined BTFC in June 2017 from National league side, Boreham Wood, he was considered a headline signing for the Blues given his background as an established player in the top tier of Non-League.

Exhibiting the outstanding leadership qualities that had made him a target for clubs in the past, he showed great character to fight his way into the team after an initial loan spell with Concord Rangers.

From November 2017, he became firmly established in the team and proved to be a vital component either in the back-line or in central midfield. Whilst his role was primarily defensive, he also contributed in front of goal, scoring three times last season.

Looking back at Matt’s footballing career before BTFC, he started out as a Colchester United trainee. In June 2007, after a successful six month loan spell, he signed for now defunct National South side, Thurrock FC. He spent three seasons with the Rocks where he played in the same team as ex-BTFC stopper, Rob Swaine.

After a series of impressive performances, he caught the eye of National League side, Braintree Town. In June 2010, he became an “Iron”. Matt would stay at Braintree for five seasons enjoying the most successful period in the club’s history.

Matt made 183 appearances for Braintree Town. After missing a chunk of the 2014-15 season, due to an opening day knee injury, Matt hit back with an outstanding 2015-16 season. A vital defensive lynch-pin, he even managed to score from the half-way line in a March 2016 League game v Kidderminster Harriers.

Instrumental in securing a record 3rd place for Braintree in the National League, Matt thrived under the management of the Cowley brothers. Ultimately, the season ended in disappointment after defeat in the play-off semi-final v Grimsby Town, and, in June 2016, Matt moved to Boreham Wood.

Matt signed for Billericay Town after a single season as an ever-present at Boreham Wood. After short loan spells at Braintree Town and Concord Rangers early in the season, Matt returned to BTFC and established himself as a starter.

Matt leaves BTFC with the best wishes of the fans and many thanks for his contribution to BTFC’s historic 2017-18 season.


2017-18: League 24 (6) – 3 Goals; Cup 15 (3) – 0 Goals

BTFC Debut
19 August, 2017: 1-3 v Dulwich Hamlet (A)

First Goal
23 December, 2017: 3-4 v Burgess Hill (A)

(*Data kindly provided by @btfcunofficial)