Eastbourne Borough legend Darren Baker is predicting good times ahead for The Sports after signing on for another season at Priory Lane.
Baker, the club’s leading all-time appearance maker with over 900 games, will be joined by fellow stalwarts Ben Austin and Matt Smart after they also put pen to paper on new deals for the coming year.
While Baker was unsure of his future during last season’s harsh campaign in the Blue Square Premier, the 36-year-old defender now can’t wait for football to start again.
He said, “I feel extremely fresh actually. After a season like last year you’re bound to be a bit tired but I’ve had a nice little break, I’ve kept myself fit and I’m now actually looking forward to training again.
“Throughout last year I wasn’t sure if I wanted to carry on at Borough or go and finish my football at a lower level.
“However, as soon as the season finished I went to see Garry Wilson and Len Smith and when I heard they were keen to keep me on it was simply a case of signing on the dotted line.
“All the travelling we had to do really took it’s toll last year and we were competing against big, strong, professional players every week, so the relegation may not be a bad thing for the club or my own career.
“While the South is still an incredibly difficult league, I certainly think we’ll have a good enough team to be in and around the promotion push.”
Borough boss Garry Wilson, who is something of a stalwart himself having been with the club for 12 years, is delighted to have secured the services of his most experienced charges for another campaign.
He said, “To have the likes of Darren, Ben and Matt on board is arguably more important than signing any new players.
“It’s crucial to keep the hardcore who really care for the club and have an affiliation with the fans, and if we can draw on their experience alongside bringing through some good young players then that will hopefully take the club a long way.”
One player hoping to fire Borough back into non-league’s top tier is former Exeter centre-forward Ben Watson, who Wilson has extremely high hopes for.
He said, “Ben Watson is a fantastic coup for this club. He’s a proven goalscorer at this level, and at 26-years-old already has years of experience in the Football League.
“It looks likely though that Jamie Taylor will be leaving.
“He wants to go full-time and he’s got a deal in the pipeline so we won’t begrudge him for wanting to play at a higher level.
“We didn’t offer a deal to Richard Pacquette though. He closed the door on negotiations at an early stage saying he wanted to be at a full-time club, and that’s the end of it as far as we’re concerned.”