Banbridge Town’s new signing Stuart King is hoping he can help Town reach new heights.
Not yet eligible to play, King was in the dug-out at Crystal Park on Saturday as his side were beaten 2-1 by Coagh United and now he wants to use his experience to ensure results like that become a thing of the past.
King certainly has bags of it, having started his career in England with Preston North End. After brief spells at Queen of the South and Southend United, he returned home to play for Linfield, Ballymena and Glenavon in the Premiership.
It’s an impressive CV and now the 34 year-old is keen to get going at his hometown club.
“The potential is definitely there for this squad to kick on,” he said. “There are a lot of young lads here with some more experienced players who I know well and have played with before.
“Every side in the league has three or four decent players and the ones we have are going to have to play well every week for the club to really push on.
“There are a lot of promising players at the club too. Ryan Gourley was class on Saturday so hopefully those lads can keep kicking on.
“Hopefully I can add a bit of experience to the squad as well and use my time as Assistant Manager at Ballyclare and the things I learned to help these lads at Banbridge Town.
“We want to push the club on. It’s a good club, a well run club and the facilities are top class. You couldn’t ask for more if you’re a young lad living in Banbridge.”
Local football fans may recall King’s days in the top division and his exciting performances bursting down the left wing.
However, he says he has had to adapt his game in the latter years of his career.
“When I was a younger player and I was fit, I played out wide and I was quick and direct. The last few years I’ve been playing centre-midfield so what people remember me as from Linfield or Glenavon is different to the player I am now. “I’d class myself as a holding midfielder or a midfielder who likes to get on the ball.
“I’ll play wherever Ryan wants me to play though. I’m here to help everybody out and to do what I can for the club.
“I want to play as much football as I can but I also want to learn. I want to become a manager so hopefully I can learn here at Banbridge Town, keep on doing my badges and see where the future takes me.”
King has already had his first foray into the coaching side of the game as assistant to former Glenavon coach David Dorrian at Ballyclare Comrades.
He will now help Town out on the training pitch as well, much to the delight of manager Ryan Watson.
“His experience and knowledge is invaluable for me,” he said. “He primarily wants to concentrate on playing at the minute but it’s great to have somebody who knows the game like Stuart does and he has a good attitude so he’s another asset to us.
“He’s an experienced player who has been about the Irish League. He’s proven at a higher level and we’re expecting Stuart to deliver. He can play anywhere across the midfield and even up front and hopefully he can hit the ground running once he makes his debut.
“We’re keen to get him going and he’ll be a big boost to the whole squad. He’ll put people under pressure for places and everybody should respond to having someone like that at the club.
“A club bringing in quality players like that is a club going in the right direction.”
Town have also welcomed back Matthew McCartan, who has moved back home from Canada. Watson is hoping he will soon approach match fitness after a couple of games for the Reserves.
He said: “Matthew’s a Banbridge Town man through and through.
“He would run through a brick wall for the club so to have him in the squad is great. He’ll put people under pressue in midfield and will keep them on their toes. He’ll be a big asset to us.”