Ex-Hemel hit-man Mackey has sights set on a prolific return

Striker Ben Mackey sees no reason why he cannot repeat his stellar first season with Hemel Hempstead Town when he returns to Leamington.

Hemel Hempstead Town celebrate Ben Mackey's leveller against Sutton United. Picture (c) Tony Conway
Hemel Hempstead Town celebrate Ben Mackey's leveller against Sutton United. Picture (c) Tony Conway

Mackey scored 43 goals in 2013/14 to spearhead the Tudors to the Southern Premier League title at a canter.

And the prolific hit-man has an equally demanding target ahead of his third spell at the New Windmill.

Speaking to the Leamington Courier, Mackey – who scored 57 goals over two seasons for Brakes in the Midland Alliance and Southern League Midland Division – said: “Every ambitious striker sets targets and I’ve always liked the number 30.”

“Two seasons running I got to 29 and it did my head in. The big three-o just sounds better.

“The last time I had a proper full season Hemel were flying and I got to the mid 40s in all competitions. It would be nice to do that again.”

Mackey spent a loan spell at Dunstable last season before returning for a second spell at to St Neots.

However, an injury-hit campaign was curtailed in January, with the 28-year-old deciding to take some time away from the game.

Ben Mackey opened the scoring for Hemel Town against Bideford. Picture (c) Darren Kelly

“Work was pushing me all over the place,” he explained. “I was in Glasgow two days and London two days and I’m based in Warwick. Plus I was travelling with Hemel and St Neots and it was affecting my football – I wasn’t enjoying it and I was fed up.

“But things have settled down now, we’ve got our house built and my fiancée is eight months pregnant and she needs me around.

“Football was a chore but now everything has died down and I’m buzzing to be back.”

Mackey’s prolific goalscoring record meant he was in demand throughout his self-imposed exile.

However, he says the time was right to step away from the game and Leamington are now well placed to reap the benefits.

“When I stopped I had a few offers,” he added. “Some crazy offers, ones where I didn’t have to train or just turned up for home games.

“When I wasn’t interested I knew I’d made the right decision. Now I’ve got the hunger back and the phone has been ringing.”

He continued: “But Leamington is a special club to me, I’ve had some of my best times at the club.

“I kind of knew when I decided to start playing again, I did think that I should be coming back to Leamington.”

Mackey’s decision to return to the Brakes fold was leaked out on his Facebook page, which is dominated by pictures of the ex-Racing Club Warwick forward with his top off.

It led to concerns from some Brakes fans that the player’s musclebound physique would not lend itself to the demands of 90 minutes on the pitch.

And while pointing out that the photo shoot took place just two days after spearheading Hemel to the Southern League title, Mackey was keen to allay their fears, saying the heavy weights are now a thing of the past as he makes his training more football-specific.

“I do enjoy the bodybuilding and gym work but you’ve got to be careful,” he admitted. “It’ll taper down now as I concentrate on the football more.”