Whelpdale and Elliott boost Eastbourne Borough as talented trio head for America
Chris Whelpdale has committed to Eastbourne Borough for the new season
The former Gillingham, Peterborough and Chelmsford City playmaker was one of the stand-out stories from the curtailed 2020/21 campaign, scoring 14 goals in just 16 appearances for Danny Bloor s side.
He went from winger to number 10, a role which suited both him and the Sports perfectly as Borough exceeded expectations during their annulled National League South season.
"I feel like we have unfinished business," the 34-year-old told the EBFC website. "We want to carry on where we left off, and with a few more improvements who knows what we can achieve. I'm happy to sign on for another season after really enjoying my first year with the boys, and with supporters hopefully returning we can generate a great atmosphere on and off the pitch.
"Last year was positive for everyone, no-one thought we would be where we were in the table and I put that down to the togetherness we had in the group. That real togetherness is hard to find, and that's one of the things that drove us on to achieve what we did and I can't wait to get going again."
Whelpdale shot to attention on his debut away at Dorking Wanderers in the FA Cup, scoring a hat-trick as the Sports won on penalties at Meadowbank, and Bloor is hoping to see more of that this campaign.
"I'm delighted he has committed himself to our club," said Bloor. "It was such a shame that the fans didn't get the opportunity to appreciate what a great player he was throughout last season. "You see all these clubs signing players, but I wouldn't swap him for anyone. We found his right position, and at times last season he was unplayable.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing what he can do this year and even more so in front of the supporters at Priory Lane."
Borough have also signed defender Jake Elliott from Hastings United, where he enjoyed two years. Prior to that, he was playing at Peacehaven & Telscombe.
Elliott, 22, played 11 times for Chris Agutter's side last term as their season was curtailed as early as November - but despite that his performances have impressed Bloor who can't wait to work with the defender.
"Jake's a player that we've monitored for quite some time and we really believe he will come in and enhance the whole group," said the Sports boss. "I'm pretty sure he will soon become a firm favourite with the Borough fans.We wanted to add him to the group because of his attributes.
"He can play in a number of positions which is obviously pleasing. He fit our blueprint of a local young player who we believe has the potential to excel at National League South level."
And Elliott himself can't wait to put on the Sports shirt in front of supporters at Priory Lane, according to the Sports website. "I'm extremely excited to be signing with Eastbourne Borough," he told ebfc.co.uk. "I was given the opportunity to come in and train with the squad and speak with Danny, which really made up my mind.
"It's the perfect progression for me following two great years at Hastings and I'm just excited to get back on the pitch with the team and hopefully contribute as much as I can to having a successful season."
Meanwhile three Borough players - James Vaughan, Daniel Blackmore and Matt Pickering - are all off to America for the coming season.
Vaughan is returning to NISA side Detroit City, having joined the Sports due to the Covid-19 pandemic last season. Meanwhile, Pickering is returning to Dartmouth University to complete his studies having already spent two years in the USA, before the pandemic interrupted his progress. Blackmore has earned a scholarship at St. Peters University in New Jersey - giving him the opportunity to continue to develop his footballing ability alongside working towards a degree.
Bloor insisted that he wouldn't be surprised to see them back in action at the Lane in future. "All three of these lads are still Eastbourne Borough players in my opinion," said Bloor. "They're going off to explore and carry on their journeys. When they return to the country they are always going to be welcome here.
"James was excellent for us last season, played in two or three positions and is going back to continue his career as a professional. Matt came in and showed how far he has developed during his time with us, whilst Dan is a fantastic character who having come through the youth team will go on and carry on his education alongside the opportunity to play football at a very high level.
"The three of them are Eastbourne Borough players, at some stage I'm sure you will see them back here playing at Priory Lane. I'd like to thank them all for their service, but remind them that the door will always be open for them."