EX-PREMIERSHIP STAR PIERCY JOINS TOWN

FORMER Premiership star John Piercy has joined Eastbourne Town.

Piercy, who played for Tottenham Hotspur in the 1990s, was forced to quit the professional game last year after due to a chronic stomach illness.

The ex-Old Town Boy was a key member of Brighton & Hove Albion's Championship side when he had to make the heartbreaking decision to retire at the tender age of 26.

But, following a year when the popular midfielder was hospitalised no less than three time because of the debilitating ulcerative colitis condition, Piercy has made the brave decision to take the first tentative steps in relaunching his career. The deal is for Piercy to play until the end of this season

He was due to make his Town debut on Wednesday night against Shoreham but a waterlogged Saffrons pitch means his first start will be in Saturday's home game against Littlehampton Town.

Piercy this week told Herald Sport, "I've always wanted to play again but since last year I've been in hospital three times, each time lasting a mimimum of 10 days.

"The last time was just before Christmas and every time I've come out of hospital, the steroid injections I'd been given meant I couldn't train so I wasn't able to get properly fit.

"But now the doctors have prescribed me some non-steroid medication. Hopefully that will help."

Piercy, who has been training on and off with Town for the past few months, added, "Ady (Colwell) has given me the opportunity to coach down there as well.

"I've got my (UEFA coaching badge) level two qualification and I want to go on to do more coaching later on in my career.

"I came very close to signing as a player for Eastbourne Borough in the summer but I couldn't because of my illness

'But I've waited and Ady has given me the opportunity to play for three or four months.

"Hopefully I can knuckle down and start playing regularly again.

'I've got no long term goals. I just want to be happy and playing again.

'Eastbourne Town is a good club. They've got a lot of good young players, they just need a bit of experience. Hopefully I can provide that."

Town boss Colwell said, "He has been training with us on and off for a few months.

"He hasn't played, obviously, due to him not feeling 100 per cent. But he has been feeling a little bit better as time went on.

"He's been looking sharp in training and he's looking forward to playing again.

"I feel quite priviledged that a former premiership player would want to come to this club.

"But I feel that's because John has seen that the set-up here is good and we're trying to do things the right way.

"We've got a gentleman's agreement for him to play for us until the end of the season. After that we'll play it by ear.

"We obviously won't stand in his way if he feels he can then move on to a higher standard of football.

"But there will be no massive expectations on John from us.

"We're not expecting world beating performances from him."