Fleet’s newest defender Kenny Clark cited friendly faces and the club’s intended upward direction as his primary motivations for signing on the dotted line at Stonebridge Road.
The recent arrival from Dartford is all-too-familiar with past colleagues and opponents alike, having played alongside several current Fleet players for Chelmsford, as well as fellow new boy Matt Godden at Princes Park last season.
“Having Cookie and Palms at the club already helps make it a lot easier having played with them before,” Clark told FleetOnline. “I spoke to the boys throughout the season and they have nothing but great things to say about the club and how much they’ve enjoyed their football this year. And I know most of the boys in the squad having played against them over the past couple of seasons. Knowing what kind of players they are made me want to be part of the current squad and was another factor that brought me to the club.”
Clark failed to agree terms on a new contract with Dartford following their relegation from the Conference Premier and after departing the Princes Park club, he met with the Fleet management. “The club’s ambition was a huge impact on my decision. Sitting down with the manager, listening to the goals and direction of the club, it all made me realise that it was something I wanted to be a part of.
“I really enjoyed the step up to the Conference Premier with Dartford even though it was tough at times playing against full-time teams when you are a part-time team. But I want to get back up there ASAP – hopefully with the Fleet.”
With Clark stepping into the shoes recently vacated by Paul Lorraine amongst others, he is already aware of the ‘blood and guts’ tradition that has tended to bond Fleet centre-backs with their home supporters. “I like to think of myself as a whole-hearted player,” he said. “Fans will soon realise that I wear my heart on my sleeve and am always up for the challenge.”
And a challenge is certainly what he can expect with fiery derbies against former club Dartford to come – the two of which he missed last season through injury. “Of course you always keep an eye out for your old clubs when the fixtures are released,” Clark said, “especially now one of them is a huge local derby! They’re the kind of games as a player you want to be involved in.
“Every year the league gets tougher and the teams get stronger; there are no easy game in this league anymore. I think along with ourselves the usual suspects such as Bromley, Dartford, Sutton and Havant are always strong and they’ll be the ones to look out for.”
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