Ben in but Robbo goes as Wilson and Bloor waste no time in bringing new talent to Rooks

Ben Austin left Eastbourne Town this week.
Ben Austin left Eastbourne Town this week.
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The new Lewes management team of Garry Wilson and Danny Bloor have wasted no time in bringing some impressive-looking names into the fold at the Dripping Pan.

Rooks fans have already expressed delight at news that players of the calibre of Ben Austin, Fraser Logan, Sam Gore, Joe Shelley and Dan Smith have all joined the club.

Meanwhile, existing Lewes players from last term, Nathan Crabb and Steve Brinkhurst, have both re-signed to the club for the upcoming season.

But one piece of news that won’t go down so well is that of talismanic captain and club legend Steve Robinson’s departure from the club. Rooks assistant boss Bloor admitted: “We’re sad to see Steve go. He has been a Lewes stalwart.

“It was mutually agreed, we just couldn’t make things work. We wish him well.”

Of the new signings, Bloor said: “Joe Shelley is a major addition to the squad. He’s a box-to-box goalscoring midfielder and he scored something like 30 to 31 goals for East Preston last season.

“And Dan Smith has a huge amount of potential. Garry and I had him at Eastbourne Town and fans will love him for his wholehearted workrate and effort. He gives 150 per cent every time.”

Another player both Bloor and Wilson know well is Austin, whom Wilson mentored at Eastbourne Borough as the Sports went up the non-league ranks and who played for both men at Eastbourne Town last season. Despite Austin’s veteran status, Bloor said: “He played more times last season than he had done for quite some time. He’ll be fine. He’s big enough, strong enough and ugly enough!”

On Tuesday the Dripping Pan outfit announced that no fewer than four players had been signed on Monday evening. Not only had last season’s Lewes Player of the Year, Nathan Crabb, re-signed to the club but Ben Austin, Fraser Logan and Sam Gore had all been signed up. They join from Eastbourne Town, Crawley Town Gatwick and Ramsgate respectively.

Then on Thursday morning, the Rooks announced that two more new signings had been made following talks with players on Wednesday evening. The club also confirmed that Steve Brinkhurst will be staying at the club, although the born and bred Lewesian faces “immediate cartilage surgery on his knee. This is likely to keep him out of action until the season is well underway”.

The two new signings on Wednesday night were Joe Shelley, the skipper of East Preston, and Dan Smith, a 22-year-old ‘all action striker’ and hot prospect from Eastbourne Town.

Former Eastbourne Borough and Town skipper Austin said he was delighted to rejoin Wilson and Bloor at the Pan.

He said: “My time at Borough was great but it has been well documented now.

“I played for Dan at Eastbourne Town last season and really got my appetite back for the game.

“I played more games than ever last year and feel I have much to offer this football club. There was always a degree of friendly rivalry between Boro’ and Lewes over the years but now I’m looking forward to playing in front of these fans as a Lewes player. I can’t wait.”

Meanwhile, Logan, a talented left-footer and last year’s Crawley Down Gatwick captain, added: I knew within a few minutes of speaking with Danny Bloor that this was where I wanted to come.

“Garry Wilson has a fantastic reputation too and once I’d met them both at the Pan, I immediately felt comfortable and at home.”

One other new arrival announced was that of Natalie Harris who joins as club physio. Harris has previous experience at the Brighton and Hove Albion Academy and Mile Oak and “with a background in the medical profession she’s a welcome addition to the team.”

Lewes boss Garry Wilson said Steve Robinson was ‘looking at pastures new’ after neither party could agree terms for the defender to stay.

Wilson said: “Sadly, these things happen in football.

“Steve lives a good distance away and now is probably a good time to part, for both parties. Everyone at the club wishes him well.”

The club also confirmed that Karl Beckford and Callum Dunne had both left the club, for Dulwich Hamlet and Billericay Town respectively.

Assistant manager Danny Bloor told the Sussex Express this week that Dunne’s living in Essex had a significant bearing on him moving to play for nearby Billericay.

See Lewes’ website for more player reaction.