O’Toole, Laing and Pitcher join Littlehampton Town as Marigolds make intentions clear

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Rob O’Toole, Alex Laing and Charlie Pitcher have all jumped on board for Littlehampton Town’s bid for asuccessful 2024-25 season.

It’s an impressive new trio lured to The Sportsfield by joint bosses Mitch Hand and George Gaskin and speaks of a desire to make a big impression in the Isthmian south east division and cup competitions next term.

Striker O’Toole, 33, comes to the team with a wealth of Isthmian League experience. During his career, the frontman has enjoyed a prolific goal-scoring record and has won multiple league titles for the likes of Peacehaven & Telscombe, East Preston, Burgess Hill Town and Haywards Heath Town. After long stints at Horsham and, more recently, Whitehawk.

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O’Toole told the Littlehampton website: “I’m really looking forward to getting started. I’ve been speaking to [joint managers] Mitch Hand and George Gaskin for a while now as they’ve wanted to get me down here and I’m excited about the new start and the exciting challenge ahead.

Rob O'Toole at The Sportsfield | Picture: Littlehampton Town FCRob O'Toole at The Sportsfield | Picture: Littlehampton Town FC
Rob O'Toole at The Sportsfield | Picture: Littlehampton Town FC

“I want to help Littlehampton Town as best as I can by scoring goals and finishing in the highest position we can achieve. A lot has changed since I last visited and the goal now is to help push the team forward.”

Boss Hand said: “We’ve been chasing Rob for years now. George and I had the pleasure of playing with him at Shoreham, almost ten years ago. We’ve always stayed in contact and every Sussex-based club wanted to sign him, but luckily for us he wants to come and play here.

“We felt we lacked a bit of experience and know-how in this division last season, so we’ve signed a player who has participated in this league for years. He was captain of Whitehawk in the division above last year and what Rob gives you on the pitch is priceless, but off the pitch it’s really important as well. He’ll be a real leader for us this coming season.

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“Rob as an individual will come into a team and score goals. We were missing goals last year and he instantly will come in and give us that. We want to move forward, we want to improve and signing players like Rob will help us get there.”

Alex Laing at The Sportsfield | Picture: Littlehampton Town FCAlex Laing at The Sportsfield | Picture: Littlehampton Town FC
Alex Laing at The Sportsfield | Picture: Littlehampton Town FC

Littlehampton have also brought in Laing, a pacy, left-sided forward from Lancing.

Laing said he was looking forward to getting the new season underway with Littlehampton Town, telling the club website: “Obviously there is lots going on at the club and it’s an exciting place to be right now.

"There are lots of other good players either coming in or being spoken to about joining for next year, so I think they’ll be lots of heads turned and surprises as we build towards the new season."

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After spells at a number of clubs, including Horsham, Lewes, Worthing and Haywards Heath Town, the left-winger has most recently been captain for near-neighbours Lancing. The 28-year-old has also enjoyed a spell at Littlehampton Town in the past, playing for them in 2017.

Charlie Pitcher in action last season for Lancing | Picture: Stephen GoodgerCharlie Pitcher in action last season for Lancing | Picture: Stephen Goodger
Charlie Pitcher in action last season for Lancing | Picture: Stephen Goodger

“I remember when I first came down here, how good the pitch is at The Sportsfield,” added Laing. “It’s always nice to play on. It’s flat, it’s always in good condition and now with the new stand, the whole ground is looking great.”

Hand described the set-piece specialist as an important addition as he looks to push the team forward in the Isthmian League in the coming season.

“We need to improve on last year,” said Hand. “We can’t be in the same position again that we were last year. I’m not shooting for the stars, but with the players we are signing such as Alex Laing and Rob O’Toole, you can’t bring footballers like that and be happy with being mediocre – so we want to push on this year.”

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New face number three is centre forward Charlie Pitcher, another to make the move from Lancing. The trio of new recruits join a roster of retained players that include Scott Kirkwood, Dave Herbert, Josh Short and others.

“Charlie’s always been a player I’ve loved,” said Hand. “We’ve had him play for Littlehampton Town a couple of times but he’s struggled with injuries. He’s coming back fit and when he’s fit there aren’t many better players.”

Pitcher, 27, played for Lancing last season, but has plenty of experience at a number of clubs including Horsham, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and others. He played a dozen or so games for the Marigolds the season before last until his playing time was cut short by injury.

“I can’t wait for the fans to see the proper Charlie Pitcher and as a bonus he is also one of the most loveable characters I’ve come across in the game,” added Hand. “He’ll be a real fan favourite this year.”

The Marigolds start their pre-season friendlies at home to Bognor on July 7 – on the day they open their new main stand.

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