Ebbsfleet United have this afternoon clinched the signing of former star midfielder Michael West from Crewe Alexandra on a free transfer.
The 22-year-old, who came through the Fleet youth system before breaking into the side in 2009, signed for Crewe for a five-figure fee in the summer of 2012 on a two-year contract. At the time he was one of non-league football’s hottest properties, having been a key member of Fleet’s promotion-winning side of 2010-11 and a mainstay of the team that finished comfortably in mid-table in its first season back in the Conference Premier alongside current Fleet players Preston Edwards, Joe Howe, Paul Lorraine and Tom Phipp.
Maidstone-born West, who had a successful loan spell at Hereford earlier this season – scoring once in eight games – netted six goals in Fleet’s play-off matches of 2010-11 and has recorded 32 goals in 121 appearances in his Ebbsfleet career to date. He also earned England C international honours in his time at Stonebridge Road.
Fleet manager Steve Brown said, “I am delighted to have secured Michael’s signature amongst some fierce competition from other clubs. Michael returns to the club where he started his career and hopefully we can help him develop further as a player and he can help us achieve success.
“His decision was greatly influenced, I believe, by the vision we have for the future of the club and the foundations we have already put in place in terms of a new training ground and the development of a new youth system. The club and its ambition was our main selling point and Michael wants to be a part of what we are trying to achieve here. We welcome Michael back to Ebbsfleet United and he will travel with us to Chelmsford tomorrow”.
And Fleet vice chairman Peter Varney also paid tribute to Crewe chairman John Bowler for allowing the deal to happen. “I’d like to thank John in particular for the speed and ease with which Crewe have allowed this transfer to proceed, particularly given that Michael was still under contract at Gresty Road. It is a wonderful gesture on his part.”