More changes for Tudors as Walker requests transfer
The transformation of Hemel Hempstead Town’s squad for the coming season continued this week with another big name set for departure, but with more new faces added.
Stand-out keeper Laurie Walker, who has put in a plethora of top displays over the past two seasons, looks likely to join former club skipper Jordan Parkes out of the door.
He has requested a transfer, with the club saying on Sunday: “We have regrettably agreed to make goalkeeper Laurie Walker available for transfer.
“With the introduction of our new management team in the close season, Laurie believes he would have limited game time.
“The club regret that Laurie feels he needs a move and we would like to thank him for his valued service over the two stints he had with us, in particular the Southern League Premier Division title season in 2013/14 and breaking the club’s clean sheets record.”
The 6ft 5ins stopper made 80 appearances for Hemel between 2013-2015, before returning to Vauxhall Road in 2017 for another stint of 98 appearances in all competitions.
The 29-year-old, who had good spells at Kettering Town, Oxford City and Brackley Town, won Hemel’s players’ player of the year award at the end of the 2017/18 season.
If a transfer goes through, he will join other stalwarts of recent seasons, Parkes and Kyle Connolly, exiting ahead of the 2019/20 National League South campaign.
However, the Tudors’ overhauled side under new boss Sammy Moore saw further additions at the weekend.
Exciting midfielder/forward Isaac Galliford is signing from Hitchin Town.
The 22-year-old was recently rewarded by boss Paul Fairclough with an England C cap against Estonia’s U23s.
Galliford started his career at Luton Town, signing a contract as an 18-year-old.
He spent 2016 and 2017 playing for American university team Butler Bulldogs.
Experienced defender Craig Braham-Barrett is also joining the club.
The 30-year-old, whose last club was Welling United, is eligible to play internationally for both Jamaica and Montserrat, qualifying through his grandmother.
Last March he was called up by Montserrat for a World Cup qualifier against Curacao, but declined to concentrate on club football at Chelmsford.
He did accept a call-up last August to play against El Salvador in another World Cup qualifier, playing 90 minutes in a 2-1 defeat.
Braham-Barrett has League Two experience, playing 82 times for Cheltenham Town, and played in the National League for Braintree, Dover Athletic and Macclesfield Town. He has also played in the National League South for Welling United, Chelmsford City, Sutton United and Havant & Waterlooville.
And Sam Beasant, a 31-year-old keeper, is joining the Tudors from Moore’s old team Concord Rangers.
He is well-versed in both the National League South, having played for Chelmsford City, Billericay Town and Maidenhead, as well as the National League, where he donned the gloves for Braintree and Woking.
He also has League Two experience with Cambridge United and Stevenage.
Beasant is the son of the legendary former Wimbledon keeper Dave Beasant.
This trio join seven other new signings: last season’s National League South top scorer Alex Wall, young defender Lucas Perry, 28-year-old midfielder Jake Howells, 26-year-old defender Connor Essam, 23-year-old forwards Sam Ashford and Liam Nash, plus 26-year-old full back Tosan Popo.
Last season’s young player of the year Jacques Kpohomouh has also agreed to stay at Vauxhall Road for 2019/20.
Meanwhile, four players from the academy are stepping up to the first-team.
Tall and athletic defender Joel Nketia, keeper George Paulin, who was Walker’s back-up last term, attacker Alvin Magagada and academy manager’s player of the year Callum Moles have all signed first-team contracts. The versatile Moles played at centre back, defensive midfield and at right back last term.