Simpemba signs for Boro’

Ian Simpemba
Ian Simpemba

While two faces have waved goodbye to Priory Lane in the past fortnight, two have now also signed on following the arrival of local lad Ian Simpemba from Dover Athletic this week.

Simpemba, a 6ft 2” defender, joins current Sport Matt Aldred in committing his immediate future to Eastbourne Borough, taking Tommy Widdrington’s current tally for the upcoming season to nine so far.

The Dover captain restored the balance to the squad after the departures of Ben Adelsbury and Jamie Smith earlier this month - the first faces to leave the Lane this summer.

Looking to the future, though, Widdrington was delighted with his recent additions, saying, “I’ve always said if you stand still, you won’t move forward and while our defensive record was very good last season, it could be better.

“Ian’s someone I’ve been very aware of for quite some time now. His experience is vital and I think the club will benefit from someone like him.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve, he’s just that type of guy.

“He’s a good size, a strong, aggressive player and he’s played at a higher level.”

Simpemba started his career playing in the Football League for Wycombe Wanderers before enjoying brief spells at Woking, Crawley and Aldershot. From there, he joined nearby team Lewes, scoring 23 goals in 74 appearances between 2006 and 2008.

The club were struggling financially, though, and were forced to offload their star man to Havant and Waterlooville, where he pulled on the shirt 141 times and scored an impresive 27 goals from the heart of defence.

After a stint at Ebbsfleet, he moved to Blue Square South high-flyers Dover - his final stop before ending up at Priory Lane.

The 30-year-old donned the captain’s armband for Lewes, Havant and Dover and Widdrington admitted he was surprised that a player who was so potent for a handful of local sides wasn’t picked up by the club sooner.

“He is a local lad, he lives in Newhaven. He’s played for Lewes before moving west to Havant and east to Dover.

“He has captained those clubs but whether he wears the armband or not, he commands the pitch because that’s the type of player that he is, and that’s something that needs to be considered.

“I’m sure the fans will grow to like him quickly.”

Widdrington gave an equally glowing endorsement to Matt Aldred, who re-signed for the Sports after working his way into the first team line-up at the tail end of last season.

The Borough boss said, “I thought he had a very good end to the campaign. I’d sent him out to get some match fitness before playing for us and he came back and did really well.

“He earned the right to have another go at it and he was delighted to sign on, which is always nice to see.”

Simpemba and Aldred join a roster of seven other players who have put pen to paper to stay at the club for the 2013.14 season.

The list is comprised of current skipper Ollie Rowe, ‘keeper Danny Potter and midfielders Charlie Gorman, Frankie Raymond and Chris Shephard.

Players’ and manager’s Player of the Season Adam Watts will also step out for the squad next season, as will Darren Lok.