Stowmarket Town’s burning ambition to continue their rise up the football pyramid was in full evidence this week after snatching higher-league Bury Town’s leading goalscorer last season from under their neighbours’ noses.
Ben Chenery said he was powerless to do anything to prevent 17-goal Josh Mayhew leaving Ram Meadow after he claims Stow, who were playing two leagues lower than Bostik Division One North Bury last season, offered him three times the amount the Blues did.
Thurlow Nunn League First Division champions Stowmarket also prised one of Bury’s leading youth talents away, both deals exclusively revealed by the Free Press online on Wednesday, with Suffolk Under-18s captain Ryan Yallop (12 appearances last season) choosing to join too.
But delighted Stowmarket manager Rick Andrews played down the talk of his side’s financial muscle at Step 5, saying: “Hand on heart, I have no idea what my fellow managers’ budgets are, so how do they know what ours is?
“It does not bother me because, at the end of the day, do all the clubs not want to get the best players they can?”
He also pointed to other big name non-league players in the area dropping down to the Thurlow Nunn Premier, specifically Sam Newson (Brantham Athletic) and Joe Francis (Felixstowe & Walton United), to show what they must compete with from August to realise an ambition set at the start of last season.
“The target is Ryman (now rebranded Bostik) football within five years,” he said. “We have one promotion to go and everything on-and-off the pitch is being put in place to achieve that, and we will take it as soon as we possibly can.”
Of his latest additions in Mayhew and Yallop, who add to other highly eye-catching signings for their level in Scott Mitchell, Angelo Harrop, Andrew Wood, Ollie Brown and Jemal Fox, he said: “We are delighted to get the pair of them.
“I genuinely think Ryan can go on and play at levels a lot higher.
“Josh Mayhew agreed to come on board following Steve Holder going to Newmarket. I have known Josh over the years — he is a friend of my son — and we have always said we would like to team up one day.”