Dave Bridges is determined to make up for lost time after finally joining Bury Town — 12 months after he could have made the switch to the Blues.
The 30-year-old central midfielder — who helped Stevenage win back-to-back promotions from the Conference to League One just two years ago — became Bury’s first signing of the summer after leaving Blue Square Bet South play-off semi-finalists Chelmsford City at the end of the season.
He only has eyes for promotion after nearly making it back into the Blue Square Bet Premier with the Clarets before play-off heartbreak against Salisbury City in May.
“I had offers from elsewhere, but in all honesty I had a great feeling when I met the guys at Bury Town and I wanted to make sure I enjoy my football,” said Bridges, who has also played for Cambridge United in the Football League. “I trust what they are saying and where the club is going — perhaps, in hindsight, I should have come last year.”
Bridges also fully expects former Chelmsford colleagues Adam Tann and Craig Parker to re-sign for the Blues after both sold life at Ram Meadow to him.
“Apart from being my mates, they are great players,” he said. “I’ve known Tanny since we were little kids — he wants things done properly and has been a great professional over the years.
“He said what a joy it’s been for him over the last few months to get back playing and enjoy his football — he didn’t have enough good words to say about the club.”
Bridges also sold himself to Bury with his winning mentality, something that clicked in his mind when he lifted the Conference North title with Kettering Town in 2008.
“When I won my first league title at 25, I suddenly realised that’s what football was all about,” he said. “All you remember is what you win and since that day I’ve tried to go to football clubs that are challenging.
“I had other offers, but they were from clubs that were possibly just hoping to survive or stay where they are in the league, but with Bury we have got to be challenging.
“The club admitted they hadn’t succeeded by not making the play-offs and that’s a great attitude to have.
“I want to win another medal and I think everything is in place to do that at Bury.”
Born in Huntingdon, Bridges began his career at Cambridge, where he spent two spells — from 2002 to 2004 and 2005 to 2007 — split by moves to Latvian side FK Riga — where he failed to play a game after breaking his foot — Braintree Town and Histon.
After his second spell at the Abbey Stadium — during which he received his only cap for England C, the national non-League side — he moved to Kettering Town, where he netted 11 goals in 27 games to guide them to the Blue Square Bet North title in 2007/08.
More success followed once he moved to Stevenage in the summer of 2008 as they earned back-to-back promotions from the Blue Square Bet Premier to League One in the space of two seasons.
Although he enjoyed plenty of league title glory at Broadhall Way, Bridges was short of luck in the FA Trophy.
Having scored a vital goal in the 2009 semi-final against Ebbsfleet United, he missed Boro’s victory over York City at Wembley Stadium through injury and, 12 months later, became the only player to be sent off in a Trophy final at the new Wembley as Stevenage lost 2-1 to Barrow.
Since then, Bridges has played for Kettering again and Chelmsford City.
He is set to team up with Seb Dunbar next season, with the former Ipswich Town reserve and Bishop’s Stortford left-back set to sign for the Blues from Leiston.
Youngster Evan Key has decided to leave Bury in search of regular first-team football, but attacking prospects Ryan Taylor and Liam Wales have committed themselves to the club for the upcoming campaign.
Connor Hall has undergone an operation on his torn groin early, but could still miss the start of the new season.
n Bury Town are looking for a new physio to join them for all first-team games and training sessions in the forthcoming season.
They would like someone working towards, or has a, qualification in physiotherapy. Email richard firstname.lastname@example.org