I had a little late-night chat with Hemel Town manager Dean Brennan and coach
Stuart Maynard on Thursday.
I started by asking about midfielder James Potton and if he’d be signing back on for the Tudors.
They said the big problem with Potts is that he wants to go on his travels again so it makes it difficult for both parties.
As is turns out, the former Watford youth product has now decided to sign for Evo-Stik Southern champions Royston Town so that puts an end to that speculation.
Striker Charlie Sheringham’s future was also discussed. The former Ebbsfleet United player, and son of Spurs and England legend Terry, impressed during a four-month loan spell at Hemel between January and April last term, scoring eight league goals.
Sheringham ‘remains a target but there are the obvious complications’, they said. The player is on holiday and is soon to have a trial in Thailand so if that comes off he wont be re-joining. So its a case of ‘waiting for him to get back and they can have a conversation’, they said.
‘He enjoyed his time here and it could happen, you never know’, they added. Maybe a club ‘Beard Tax’ will have to come in or a sponsor could be asked to chip in to somehow seal a deal, they joked.
Defender Ed Asafu-Adjaye has re-signed, they revealed, which would be great news if he can stay fit. “Ed says he felt the best he has in two years and didn’t want the season to end, so good luck to him. He has had two really serious injuries and hopes this will be the end of his bad luck. All the best to him, he’s a very approachable guy and loves it at Hemel,” Brennan said.
The club have three more signings coming in the next week or so hopefully, they said. One is a definite but can’t be named due to red-tape and the other two look positive.
They include, in no particular order, a centre half, a winger and a striker. (Note: since the interview, vastly experienced defender Yakubu Ismail Yakubu has signed on the dotted line – see back page).
Dean and Stuart said they are determined to get the recruitment right this time: there will be no selling of players and the intention is to stop the revolving door policy, with fewer loanees, if any.
They have offered deals to goalkeeper Jamie Butler and supporters’ player of the year Tony Diagne but neither player has got back to them so they will almost certainly not be at the club this season, they explained.
Meanwhile, the players have volunteered for an extra night’s training in pre-season, which is quite a commitment for some of them, with work and family commitments, but they want to be in tip-top condition to get off to the best possible start.
The duo admitted they made some poor signings last time out – some players who they thought would bring a positive attitude to the club ended up bringing a negative one. Players they had high hopes for didn’t pan out and the rot somewhat started with the Cheshunt pre-season incident when a fight broke out in a friendly match between two Hertfordshire sides.
“It all went down hill from there,” they said. I mentioned that it didn’t look right in the pre-season games, there was something missing and they agreed, saying it was all down to their recruitment and they take full responsibility for that.
They addressed the situation after the poor start with skipper Jordan Parkes’ return being a massive help with that, lifting the club and supporters.
The players who were having a negative impact were moved on and others, with a more positive attitude were brought in, which stabilised the situation and the club were soon climbing the table.
They are confident they can make a challenge for the title this season – that is the aim as in every season but they seem very focused on getting it right.
I said that I’d noticed Dean and Stuart weren’t their usual selves at the start of the last campaign and they admitted that there were issues on and off the pitch. The approach from Chelmsford and another (National League Premier) club had unsettled them a bit but they were always focused on the job in hand and were, as always, determined to get the club into a playoff place at the very least but it just didn’t happen. They lost a lot of points by conceding late goals and the defence was an issue from day one.
A settled squad with good experience, mixed with some young players is the aim this season. They think supporters will be impressed with the squad they have assembled, with Taylor Miles and Tod Hamblin getting singled out as massive signings.
Callum Driver is another player who they are very pleased to get back into the fold, with several clubs showing an interest in the player.
“With at least four more signings to come, we should have a squad that is more than capable of mounting a challenge in this campaign,” they said. Hemel’s busy summer continued this week with the news that experienced defender Yakubu had signed.
He has amassed more than 400 appearances to date with the majority spent in the Football League with Barnet, AFC Wimbledon and Newport County.
He spent last season in the Vanarama National League with Woking and although he had several other offers, Brennan is delighted that he has chosen to play at Vauxhall Road this season.
The former England C centre half joins a new defensive unit with leadership and experience for the coming season.
It means the Tudors have now made seven moves in the past month as well as re-signing seven from last term.