Isthmian League

New Identity and New Players for Herne Bay

Herne Bay have unveiled a new Identity, and while they were at it, revealed some impressive new signings, as the Club builds up progress towards the 2020/21 season start.

Manager Ben Smith believes Herne Bay fans will be delighted with the team’s progress during lockdown, and rightly so as they are sure to start the new campaign as one of the favourites for promotion after the recent additions.

Smith said: “The key thing was retaining our players and being methodical, because from November onwards we were one of the form sides in this league, so we certainly don’t have anything to worry about.

“We have to use that feeling of being aggrieved and missing out on what could have been to hit the ground running, especially as the club is in the best place it’s been in for a long time.

“Last year we were playing catch up throughout, whereas now we’ll be a lot more settled and the signings we make will only be ones that improve us greatly, rather than just like-for-like.

“So if you’re a Herne Bay supporter you should be very excited and happy with what we’re doing at the moment, even more so than last season, and they’ll all see that over the next few weeks.”

Johnson has arrived after experienced football at the top end of the non-league pyramid and he’s still only 24. His former clubs include Bromley – where he was called up to the Egland C team – and Dartford. He was at Margate for the 2019/20 season. He returns to Bay having already made 99 appearances for the club.

And as well as announcing the arrival of defender Raphe Brown from VCD Athletic back in June Smith has also confirmed captain Laurence Harvey will be staying with the club ahead of the new season.

Former Canterbury City manager Smith says that with other potential targets attracting the interest of various National League sides, patience is vital in adding big names to the coastal outfit’s ranks.

He explained: “This time last year we had three players in total at the club so it was tough to start with, but as soon as we saw opportunities to bring in certain players that we liked, everything turned around very quickly.

“We brought in Anthony Edgar who is arguably one of the best, if not the best, midfielder in the league, but he got injured in his first game, so he’s one of a few who will be like a new signing for us.

“So we don’t need to go out and sign 10 players – we brought Raphe Brown in, so we’ll look at possibly two or three others who need to be of the quality that can walk in any other side in the league.

“Patrick Nzuzi is in the middle of going back to the DR Congo, so we earmarked Raphe to replace him and I know we beat off a lot of competition to get him, so he’s a great coup for us.

“But because of the players we’re talking to, it takes time to get deals over the line because they have an awful lot of suitors and it’s a lot harder when it’s a different calibre of player than before.

“Some are having National League sides talk to them, so you have to be patient and pitch a lot more about things like the training environment and what is happening behind the scenes.

“So it can be frustrating, but at the moment we’re still very happy with where we’re at and we’ll be releasing some names shortly – we’ll meet for training on Saturday for the first time and go from there.”

Herne Bay have also revealed their new badge – and new identity.

The club engaged the local community in the design in an effort to give themselves a modern new look.

Bay chairman Stuart Fitchie is delighted with the design.

He said: “We are happy that the final design ticks all the boxes in terms of style, modernisation and practicality whilst keeping the traditional values of the club badge.”

The club had received a number of design submissions and many retained the presence of the heron and the clock tower.

Mr Fitchie said: “It became clear that people wanted these included in the new design. This led to our slogan for the campaign ‘Modernising Traditions’.”

Owen Williams of OW Creative Design was asked to produce the final design.

He said: “When Herne Bay got in touch about designing their new badge it was a project I couldn’t turn down.

“While the aim was to bring a new, modern look for the club, it was important to recognise where the club has come from and ensure that the design feels right.

“I started by looking at all the fan-submitted designs and it was clear the features that were important to the fans. I feel we have reached a final design that works in the modern world while taking inspiration from the past.”

The club are giving away goody bags for all those who contributed a design with rewards including season tickets, club merchandise, match passes and mascot experiences.

The chairman says the club have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, losing between £40-£50,000. They were also in the South East division play-off places when the season was declared null and void.

They are now looking forward, however. Mr Fitchie said: “Our club re-brand coincides with the launch of our junior academy and the re-established partnership with Herne Bay Harriers, Youth and Wanderers grassroots clubs which will assist in our request to develop and nurture local talent providing a club, and role models within it, to inspire this future generation.”

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