New chairman and signings at Rebels

New Worthing Football Club chairman Lee Noakes with Debs McKail and Morty Hollis
New Worthing Football Club chairman Lee Noakes with Debs McKail and Morty Hollis

WORTHING Football Club have stepped into a new era this week after announcing a new chairman and whole host of new signings ahead of the upcoming season.

Off the pitch, the club has added four new directors, while Lee Noakes has taken over from the role of chairman from Deborah McKail.

On the pitch, manager Lee Brace has announced his first signings which include a whole host of new faces, the return of some old ones, along with retaining the services of the majority of last season’s squad.

Former fans’ favourite Mark Knee has returned to the club, from Whitehawk, along with Hastings captain and striker Jamie Crellin, goalkeeper Simon Lehkyj (Hassocks), and former Rebel John Lansdale (Eastbourne Town).

They are joined by fellow new signings, former young Horsham stalwart Adam Hutchings, utility players Bradley Murray (Peacehaven) and George Hayward (Burgess Hill), and Bradley Bant (Shoreham).

Of last season’s squad, Charlie Cooke, Paul Kennett, Matt Hurley, Luke Gedling, Nick Sullivan, Nico Pinilla, Josh James, Sid Adams, Josh Bryant, Matt Daniel, Josh Clack and Jess White have all re-signed.

Scott Kirkwood, however, has joined Burgess Hill, and Jamie Brotherton, Tom Lawley and Steve Metcalf have reportedly signed for Peacehaven, while Chris O’Flaherty is considering a season off.

Brace hailed all the players that have put pen to paper and said: “I am delighted to get Mark back at Worthing as he is the highest-capped player and it’ll give Kenno some competition.

“Jamie is a fantastic signing and will be a real crowd favourite here at Worthing. He has real passion and is a real leader. At just 22 he captained Hasting last year and scored the goal against Harrogate to earn them a replay in the FA Cup.

“I am delighted with all the signings. We’ve quietly been going about our business. Everyone wondered what we were doing, but, hopefully, there are a few that will make people sit up and have a little look.”

Noakes, 45, was elected on to the club’s board last week, along with Julian Church, John Whyte and Ian Hart, before being installed as chairman.

Full story and plenty of reaction from Noakes in this week’s paper.