Busy Bloor: It's all go in close season for Eastbourne Borough boss

No rest for the wicked, they say – and very little, either, for that heroic band of sportsmen called local football managers.  Just ask Danny Bloor.

The Eastbourne Borough boss – in common, no doubt, with his fellow managers across non-league – is working day by day to prepare for a new National South season. His first-team squad will be reporting back at Priory Lane in less than a fortnight, on Tuesday 21st June.

The Sports have already announced a full programme of pre-season friendlies, beginning with the visit of Kevin Betsy’s Crawley Town to the Lane on Saturday 2nd July. “It may sound early, but like all clubs we will need a steady upward curve, so that we are primed for action on August 6th,” commented the Gaffer.

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Leone Gravata has committed to the Borough cause / Picture: Andy Pelling

That relatively early opening date reflects the expansion of Borough’s National South division from 21 clubs to 24. The post-Covid restructuring promotes Worthing, Cheshunt, Farnborough and Taunton Town from Step 3, with Weymouth and Dover Athletic dropping down from the National League. Meanwhile Maidstone and Dorking Wanderers are promoted, with last season’s tail-enders Billericay relegated.

Supporters will all be eager to know our first-fixture opponents,” Bloor told The Herald this week, “but for myself and my staff there is plenty of groundwork to do.

“From last season we have continuity and the spine of a team, but I have further targets. We are looking to bring in probably three or four long-term loan players from Football League clubs, who can excite the fans as well as bringing experience and quality.

“There will be triallists invited to training, so we may unearth a gem or two there. And I am actively speaking with a number of other players and their agents – in fact I’m expecting one particular call back as we speak!”

Right ho, Gaffer – the Herald always knows when to get off the phone! But before we did so, Danny was happy to sing the praises of one gem of a player unearthed last season – exciting attacker Leone Gravata, who put pen to paper this week.

“There was never a question of Leone not re-signing, it was just some details to sort and paperwork to complete. Leone is a player whom we rate highly. He was coming to the fore at the end of last season, when we were deep in play-off battles.

“We are sure he can develop further. He is the sort of player who excites you the moment he gets on the ball. He gets in good areas, and he frightens defenders. As a talented young local player, Leone is a shining example to other youngsters.”

Danny didn’t quite say it before we put the phone down, but he didn’t really need to: for the man at the helm at Priory Lane, the football world never sleeps.