Ebbsfleet United have confirmed that midfielder Michael West is to leave the club at the end of his contract this summer.
The 25-year-old was in his second spell at Stonebridge Road, having originally graduated from the club’s youth system. He made his first-team debut aged just 16 in November 2007, in a Kent Senior Cup match against Ramsgate, and went on to record his Conference debut at the tail-end of the 2008/09 season against Northwich Victoria.
A regular the following season, it was 2010/11 where he really caught the eye, powering the Fleet to promotion. Scoring six goals in the play-off campaign and giving one of the most memorable individual performances that Fleet fans can recall in the final against Farnborough, ‘Westy’ was hot property as he continued his form in the Conference Premier in 2011/12.
A richly-deserved move to Crewe Alexandra followed in the summer of 2012 but injuries robbed the League One side of the best of what the player had to offer and he spent time on loan at Hereford. Fleet pounced to bring him back to the club in January 2014 but a further serious injury ruled West out of another play-off campaign and it took him a year to recover – though he scored on his return in typically excellent fashion.
Despite limited opportunities to break into the Fleet first team in 2015/16, West helped propel Whitehawk into the play-offs while on loan in Sussex and no doubt caught the eye of other clubs in the process.
A fans’ favourite, West’s goal total of 34 from almost 150 appearances places him 35th in the club’s all-time scoring chart and he departs with the very best wishes of all at the club, having provided some great memories for all of us at the Fleet.