United sell talented pair

Frannie Collin brings the ball under control during Hastings United's win away to Cray Wanderers in April. Picture courtesy Scott White
Frannie Collin brings the ball under control during Hastings United's win away to Cray Wanderers in April. Picture courtesy Scott White
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Hastings United Football Club has sold two of its leading players from last season.

Accomplished wide player Matt Bodkin and prolific forward Frannie Collin have joined higher grade Margate for undisclosed fees.

Matt Bodkin also enjoyed an impressive season at The Pilot Field. Picture courtesy Scott White

Matt Bodkin also enjoyed an impressive season at The Pilot Field. Picture courtesy Scott White

A statement on United’s website reads: “The club advises that following negotiations with Margate FC, agreement was reached to sell Frannie Collin and Matt Bodkin to Margate FC for undisclosed fees.

“Both players were contracted to the club for the 2017/18 season, but due to their change in work circumstances, they advised they could no longer commit to the training and match travel required for them to be able to continue to play for the club, and therefore both asked to be released.

“Whilst we are disappointed that both players cannot continue their playing careers at Hastings United, the club going forward cannot compromise on players being unavailable for training during the week and/or on matchdays.

“All at the club thank Frannie and Matt for their efforts last season, and wish them well for the future.”

The former Maidstone United duo made a big impact after joining United last summer, Collin scoring 32 goals in all competitions (becoming the first United player for 17 years to hit 30 in a season) and Bodkin netting 14 times during the 2016/17 campaign.

Bodkin and Collin were two of six players (the others being Sam Cruttwell, Jack Harris, Simon Johnson and Ollie Rowe) who, back in May, United ‘exercised contract options’ to retain for next term.

That meant they would be staying at The Pilot Field for the 2017/18 Bostik League Division One South campaign unless a club wishing to sign them could reach an agreement with United, which Margate now have.

Bodkin and Collin will link up again with former United assistant manager Steve Watt, who is now in charge of Bostik League Premier Division club Margate.

Lenny Pidgeley, United’s first choice goalkeeper last season, signed for the Gate earlier in the summer and midfielder Jack Evans, who had a loan spell with United last term, is also at the east Kent club.