Jay Lovett this week became the latest piece of the new Lewes FC jigsaw when he rejoined his old team – and his former boss Garry Wilson.
The experienced centre half returned to the Dripping Pan after an absence of seven years – having left the Rooks in 2006 to join Wilson at Eastbourne Borough.
Lovett actually made his debut for the Rooks as an 18-year-old but is better known for his spell at the Pan between 2003 and 2006 when he racked up over 130 games for the Rooks.
The experienced centre back has played for Brentford in the Football League, as well as Crawley Town, Aldershot Town, Hereford United, Gravesend & Northfleet and Farnborough.
His return was welcomed by Wilson and his assistant Danny Bloor, as well as Lovett’s old team-mates at Borough, Ben Austin and Matt Crabb.
Wilson said: “You only have to look at what he’s done and see where he’s played to know he is a fantastic footballer. He’s a credit to the game, he trains hard, he plays hard, he’s dedicated and very, very committed.
“Jay is definitely one you’d want in the trenches with you.”
But Wilson admitted to feeling “disappointed” by Joe Shelley’s decision not to play for the Rooks – despite having signed forms with the club just three weeks ago. Lewes even unveiled him as a new signing.
“He actually signed for us, obviously – we publicised it, with his will,” said Wilson.
“But he’s gone away and thought about the commitment he would have to give. I don’t know if he’s been misled by others but it’s just really disappointing. I just hope he doesn’t look back in years to come and regret it. He was one we were really excited about.”
But Wilson added: “The door’s still open for him.
“It’s better he’s been honest with us at this stage than waiting until later on to tell us.”
Wilson insisted he was still working towards an August 10 start to the season – despite the uncertainty surrounding Thurrock FC’s threat to take their case against relegation to the European Court of Arbitration.
The Fleet lost their appeal on Tuesday against a points deduction for playing Joel Barnett while he was under a sine die suspension last season.
The three points they were deducted saw them relegated at the expense of Carshalton Athletic, who had originally finished in the drop zone.
But Thurrock insisted they would fight on despite the ruling to uphold the deduction. Fleet press officer Tony Flood said: “We want to carry on fighting because we feel this all unjust. As a club, we have to look at what other options are open to us. We believe the Court of Arbitration for Sport is and we’ll research that.
“We’re not trying to delay a football season.
“But as a club, we are trying do what we feel is right by us.”
Thurrock chairman Tommy South added: “We’ll talk about the Court of Arbitration. I’m also going try to get an injunction out on the league season.”
Barnett played four games for Thurrock, including in a 2-0 win over Lewes in August.
He later played in 13 for Tilbury, scoring eight and helping them to 18 points. Tilbury’s appeal against an 18-point deduction for them was also dismissed, although the points deduction did not see them relegated from the Ryman North.
Wilson said: “We’re planning for the 10th of August.
“I’ve not put a lot of thought into it. I don’t think it will come to it (the season being delayed).”
Meanwhile, Lewes wide man Steve Brinkhurst has revealed that doctors only expect him to be out for six weeks following an operation last week on his knee.
It was originally feared that he could be out for up to six months but the born and bred Lewesian tweeted: “Should be around 6 weeks out #boom.
“I’m glad Im gettin closer to being able 2 play football. Season is just over a month away.”
Above: Lewes FC tweeted this picture of Garry Wilson and Danny Bloor talking to supporters at the ‘meet the manager’ session in the Rook Inn on Tuesday.