Elliott is back. The man who scored that fabulous hat-trick in the first ever game on the 3G. The man who scored 34 goals in 60 Borough appearances. The man who was so hard to mark that one defender fouled him five times in the first twenty minutes of a match (St Albans, since you ask). The man who gave blood for the cause and never gave less than his best. The man the supporters absolutely loved. And we quite liked his Mum and Dad too.... Here's what the Gaffer thinks:
So Lee, you’ve landed your first target already. Why Elliott Romain?
- Elliott is a player who knows the club and the club knows him. He left only because he had the chance to test himself at higher level. That hasn’t quite worked out for him, for a number of reasons – he’s been often asked to play out of position for example, often out wide whereas I see Elliott playing through the middle, off the shoulder of centre-halves and using his pace. He needs opportunities to score goals and someone who believes in him. He needs a starting shirt that is what he will get here, as long as he proves himself worth it. Hopefully he now grabs that, and indeed he still has aspirations to go and play higher, and I love that in a player.
The fans will be thrilled that he’s back!
- Yep, and I know he will respond. He’s got to hit the ground running, come in pre-season and prove himself. Nobody is guaranteed to play, but Elliott has all the credentials, aggressive, strong, quick. He has a great mentaility, a quiet lad but he’s a winner. Whether or not he himself scores, the opposing centre-back has to come off thinking, gee, we’ve been in a hell of a game today. We need exactly that at the club – strong mentalities and players brave enough to take on the challenge.
You’re building a team from the front!
- Ha – I was a centre-forward myself, remember! But I have lots of targets and I sign them as they come up, as long as they are right for the club and they fit my objectives. There are lots of clubs out there with competitive budgets, but we are slowly getting there with the players who are a fit for us. It’s still mid-May but we are already looking forward to the season. I want to do business early and get my plans and people in place.
And what about the squad from last season?
- I’m looking hard at those players too. Tobi Adebayo-Rowling was already on contract for 2019-20, and so was Dean Cox. Then I do have what is effectively a retained list, and there are probably five players whom I have agreed terms with. I would expect those deals to be finalised, and signatures penned, within a week or so. Supporters will be keen for news, and once the names are on the paperwork you will be the first to know. Trust me, I am equally keen to keep you all posted as soon as there is concrete news on that front. I really see us all as part of the partnership – the board, myself and staff, the players and the supporters. (So some in, some out some staying?) Yes those are players whom I will build my team around. Then hopefully in a week or ten days I will have a couple more new faces to announce.
When you’re recruiting, is the coastal location an issue?
- It doesn’t have to be, and there are solutions. We had the same sort of challenges at Havant and we found ways. I am going to move training to a facility in Crawley – which makes us instantly a much more attractive proposition to London-based players, and it immediately widens my net and my catchment. A number of the other lads live across towards Brighton anyway, so we can have players all within an half-hour or so of training. It is giving me much more leverage with attracting players.
Training starts when?
- We are all back in on Wednesday 26th of June, and I’m looking to have my full squad in place by then. Can’t wait!
What’s the Lee Bradbury brand?
- I want an exciting brand of football that reflects how the supporters feel about the club. That’s the most important thing, that they go out and wear the badge with pride, and – as with all my previous teams – they work very hard for one another. We’ll be organised, we’ll be fit – and then it’s down to the players to do their part on the pitch.
You really do see a bond with the fans, don’t you?
- You supporters are, and must be, the life and heart of the club. We don’t take you all for granted. We must, and will, give you something to be excited about – as excited as I am myself, at the start of a new project. Even as I was agreeing my own contract, I was still only just appreciating everything you have here – the facilities are eye-opening. As well as the 3G, we have two full-sized grass pitches, one of them floodlit, and we have the all-weather training compound too. Most clubs at our level would bite your arm off for that. We have the structure, the backing from the board, the sense of expectancy among supporters. I am certain success is waiting to happen.
Thanks, Lee! And welcome home, Elliott!
Updated 20:48 - 15 May 2019 by Kevin Anderson