Five in, Still more to come at Maidstone United

With five new signings so far this summer, John Still is readying fans for more additions very soon.

A rebuild project is well under way with goalkeeper Jake Cole, left-back Noah Chesmain, defender Lewis Knight, midfielder Klovis Kamdjo and striker Ibrahim Olutade signing deals for the forthcoming campaign.

A third of the way through the summer, the club’s head of football is pleased with the progress.

He said: “I am pleased with how the rebuild is going. We knew that there were lots of players who were out of contract this summer and regardless of who was and who wasn’t, we knew we wanted a clean sweep if I am honest.

“We started early, our scouts were out and that’s how we got Jake Embery and Justin Amaluzor before the end of last season.

“There were one or two we wanted to move quickly on. One was a goalkeeper. Jake’s very experienced, I’ve known him for a long time and as soon as we knew he would be available we thought that experience would be ideal, as we did with Clovis.

“Lewis and Ibrahim were two we had watched a few times and I was pleased to get those over the line. The spine of the team is well under way.”

Through his extensive contacts and scouting network, more than 40 potential players were identified, and a lot of background work has been done in the last four weeks.

John said: “Now it’s a matter of sifting through the ones we’ve looked at, the ones that have been recommended, the ones we feel are for us and deciding which way to go but so far, so good.

“Hakan and myself have had numerous talks with players. Firstly to see if they’re interested and secondly to see whether they’re the right character for us.

“It’s a hard part of the job but a very enjoyable part too. I like talking to players, assessing them mentally and making decisions.

“I think in the next two weeks, we’ll probably see some more, quite a few more, come through the door.”

Character has always been a hallmark of a John Still side – a trait he’s determined to continue with this new squad.

He said: “Character for me is massive, it’s always been a thing of mine. Hakan’s played and worked for me, so I am sure we’re on the same wavelength here.

“Sometimes when we talk to players we end up changing our mind because we’re not sure they’re the type we’re looking for. We have to create a team, we don’t have to create individuals.

“Players have to come in knowing the job we want them to do for the team and be confident they can do the job we’re looking for.

“If the younger ones talk to you with enthusiasm, ambition and desire that tells us that they can come in and pick it up quickly. It’s important to get people who are team orientated.”

After a career spanning more than 40 years and 2,000 matches, John was recognised with a Special Achievement Award by the League Managers Association last month.

He said: “It came as a great surprise. I was absolutely delighted to receive that lifetime achievement award for all the hard work that you put in.

“When it’s recognised, it’s lovely, there’s no doubt about that. I was dead chuffed to be absolutely honest.”

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