Fleet will set sail on 2016/17 minus the assured presence of one of our most trusted crewmen as Ron Hillyard has stepped down ahead of the new campaign.
Vice chairman Peter Varney told FleetOnline: “Ron is wanting to spend more time with his family from this point and I know what a huge service he has given this club. In my time alone, he has been a fantastic servant to Ebbsfleet United and his time here goes back long before then.
“Most of all we’ll miss his sense of humour, but his professionalism in developing goalkeepers one after the other at this club has been second-to-none. I’m sure he’ll be back to visit us and cast his eye over how the lads between the sticks are developing throughout this season and beyond!”
Ron was GIllingham’s record appearance holder, playing 657 games between 1974 and 1990, having joined from York City. He joined the Fleet under Andy Ford in 2002 and continued to work for his successors Liam Daish, Steve Brown, Jamie Day and Daryl McMahon. In a 14-year spell, Ron developed the talents of numerous goalkeepers, most notably seeing Sam Mott, Lance Cronin, Preston Edwards and Brandon Hall all go on to secure England C caps. And in the first few years of his coaching employment at the Fleet, while in his early fifties, he was often named as substitute goalkeeper in times of need!
The club wishes Ron all the very best for the future. He has been part of the fabric of the Fleet for 14 years, during which time he has celebrated two promotions and an FA Trophy win at Wembley, and we hope to see him in attendance at Stonebridge Road very soon.
Ron’s boots are to be filled by Michael Jordan, a former Arsenal schoolboy and England U19 international, who played league football for Chesterfield and then had spells at Stevenage, Eastbourne, Farnborough and Boreham Wood. He has joined up with the Fleet squad in Portugal this week.