Former Hemel Hempstead Town FC captain Jordan Parkes says that the allure of full-time football and the chance to win the title were two of the key reasons for his decision to move to Ebbsfleet United.
Parkes, 25, joins the wealthy Kent side after three years with the Tudors which culminated in a 30-goal campaign from midfield last season.
And the former Watford man is now looking to fire his new employers to a National League South title challenge next season.
“It has been a very tough decision to leave Hemel Town after three extremely successful seasons for the club,” said Parkes. “I have loved playing for my hometown club and to lift four trophies in that space of time is extra special.
“I have some of my best footballing memories playing for the club, but feel the time is right for me to move on.
“I am excited to sign for Ebbsfleet as it gives me the opportunity to go back to full-time football. I also believe they will be challenging for the title this season and, after winning the Southern League with Hemel, it’s something I want to experience again.”
After being unveiled as an Ebbsfleet player, many Hemel fans expressed their surprise that Parkes had opted to join one of their National League South rivals and had not stepped up at least one division.
Revealing the reasons behind the move, Parkes said: “I would have loved the opportunity to go back into the League; however I was under contract at Hemel so any interested clubs would have to pay a fee for me – that stops a lot of clubs as they don’t have any money for transfer fees.
“Ebbsfleet were a club that expressed interest very quickly and were keen to get a deal sorted.”
Looking back at his time with the Tudors, the former skipper added: “I am extremely proud of what has been achieved at the club in the last few seasons.
“The biggest highlight was winning the Southern Premier Division – I will never forget that season and to lift the biggest shield I have ever seen was something special.
“Reaching the FA Cup first round was excellent as well; I think everyone would agree that it was a brilliant day and we were gutted we couldn’t hold on for just a few minutes.
“I am also proud of our achievements this season just gone, we started poorly but managed to put together a terrific run and put ourselves in with a chance of the play-offs.”
Parkes has been a fans’ favourite in his time at Vauxhall Road, and he was quick to thank the Tudor Army for their support.
Ebbsfleet were a club that expressed interest very quickly and were keen to get a deal sorted.Jordan Parkes
“I just want to thank the fans for the last three seasons,” he said. “You have been absolutely brilliant to me both on the field and off it by supporting JP Pro Football; my football coaching business.
“For me to receive all three awards at the awards night this year was truly special and I would like to thank everyone for voting for me.”
On his future, Parkes continued: “I will still be living in Hemel and JP Pro Football will continue to give the children of Hemel Hempstead the best football coaching experience around. So you will certainly still see me about!
“I look forward to returning to Vauxhall Road this season. I am proud of my time captaining the side and definitely hope to put the Hemel shirt and armband on again in the future.”