Banbridge Town’s newest signing wants to help his side replicate the success of Annagh United.
Experienced defender Stuart Thompson has rejoined the club from Lisburn Distillery but is confident he hasn’t left Championship One behind for good.
Thompson was previously at Town, joining on loan from Distillery in 2011 before signing on a permanent basis for the 2012/23 season.
Now, after another spell at the Whites, he’s delighted to be back at Crystal Park, where he now regrets ever leaving.
“When Brian Adair left, I and a lot of the boys left but on reflection, I probably should have stayed,” he said.
“I’m so glad to be back at Banbridge now.
“It’s a fresh challenge and there’s a good buzz around a club that are trying to do things the right way.
“Town are an ambitious club who want to do well. You can see that with the way they approach things. The preparation for games and how the club are organised behind the scenes is all geared towards success on the pitch. That’s what the directors and the supporters want. Hopefully we can do the business and get the team right in the mix.”
Last season, Annagh United were promoted to Championship One, a rise that Thompson is hoping to see repeated at Crystal Park.
“PSNI and Dundela have come down and will be two very strong teams in Championship Two this season but the margins are tight in this division,” he said.
“When I was at Town before, we were beating the likes of Annagh United but now they’re in Championship One. There’s no reason why Banbridge Town can’t do the same thing.
“If we can get all the boys together, get the squad gelled and a good pre-season, there’s no reason why we can’t be up there challenging.”
Thompson joins an impressive list of summer signings at Town with Ryan Moffatt, Kevin Anderson and Neil Barr already secured for next season in what the new boy is optimistic will be a strong panel of players.
“Everything on and off the park is a lot more stable now,” he said.
“The last two seasons have been about consolidation I think but when you look at the players that are coming in, things are moving forward.
“The foundation is there for us to challenge for promotion and get good Cup runs going. As a club, that’s where we want to be.
“A lot of the boys I played with at Town a few years ago are still here and are two years further on in their experience and development. I think it’s an exciting time to be a part of Banbridge Town and hopefully we can achieve something this season.”
The Hillsborough man had initially agreed to play for Distillery again next season before a chat with the Town management swayed his decision
“Come the end of the season, you begin to think what you want to do,” he said.
“I had said to Tommy (Kincaid - Distillery manager) that I would commit to next season but once I spoke to Andrew (Cully), Glenn (Waddell) and Ryan (Watson) and saw the signings they were making, I knew I wanted to go.
“Tommy and everyone at Distillery were very good to me but I wanted to go to a club that has a buzz about it.
“The way things are going at Distillery, they’re finding it tough at the minute.”