SHOREHAM Football Club have signed former professional Michael Standing for the upcoming County League Division 1 season.
Midfielder Standing, 30, was a trainee at Brighton & Hove Albion, before, with Gareth Barry, he joined Aston Villa. Standing never played a game for Villa but went on to play for Bradford City, Walsall, Chesterfield, Bournemouth, Oxford, Grays Athletic and Lewes.
Mussels boss Mark Burt is delighted with the signing and believes Standing’s arrival at the club will help the club’s youngsters.
He said: “Michael’s signing really stands out for us.
“We don’t know his availability yet as he’s a football agent as well, and is going to be away some weeks, but we’re delighted to have him here.
“From the first training session, you could tell he’s been a professional with his touch and quality and, hopefully, he’ll help bring on a few of the club’s youngsters.
“He just loves his football and anyone who has ever played the game knows that you can’t just stop playing.
“Even when you see a ball in the park, you have got to kick it. Once it’s in your blood, it’s always there.”
Mussels have also signed David Coles, a 24-year-old whose previous clubs include Stevenage, and Charlie Romain, a midfielder who was with Eastbourne Borough last season.
Burt said: “Charlie’s a holding midfielder, who has come from a decent club and has looked good in training.
“David has been out of the game for a couple of years but was at Stevenage for a few years and has just moved down to the area and is quality on the ball.”
Burt is also still hoping to add a couple of new faces to the squad.
Since last season, when Mussels finished third-from-bottom in County League Division 1 but were reprieved from relegation, they have lost winger Owen Callaghan to Peacehaven and defender Lee Denyer to Lancing, while midfielder Graham Martin could also be Lancing-bound.
Burt said: “Players come and go. We felt we needed to freshen up the squad and that’s what we’ve done.
“Lee was a great player for us on his day and Owen was superb for us. I can’t knock him as he always gave his all, but maybe a fresh challenge is just what he needs and it should be good for him.”
Burt feels it is far too early to talk about aims for the season but did say: “We’ll obviously look to finish as high as we can.
“I’m not going to say anything ridiculous like we’re going to win the league, but we’d like to have a say in who wins it.
“After last season, a top six finish would be great and it would also be nice to have a cup run.
“The FA Cup and FA Vase both come early in the season, so we’ve got to make sure that we hit the ground running and pick up as many points as we can early on.”
Mussels have their first pre-season friendly on Saturday when they entertain Colney Heath and they then host local rivals Southwick on Tuesday.
Shoreham begin their league campaign on August 13 when Redhill visit Middle Road.