Hastings defender agrees terms with Eastbourne Town

Sean Ray in action for Hastings United last season. Picture courtesy Joe Knight
Sean Ray in action for Hastings United last season. Picture courtesy Joe Knight

Hastings United Football Club looks set to lose another senior player.

Eastbourne Town are reporting that experienced defender Sean Ray has agreed terms to join them for the 2016/17 season.

Assuming Ray does depart The Pilot Field, it would mean United have lost the two highest career appearance makers in their 2015/16 squad in a matter of days after Sam Adams agreed terms with Hythe Town last week.

Ray has made 398 appearances for United down the years, scoring 51 goals. Last season he netted nine times in 51 outings for a United side which finished seventh in Ryman Football League Division One South.

Physically strong and dominant in the air, the 35-year-old first joined United in August 2004 and returned to start a third spell ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.

A long-time former club captain and three-time supporters’ player of the year, Ray also served as player/manager between October 2011 and summer 2013, leading United to the third round of the FA Cup in his only full season at the helm, which ended in relegation from the Ryman Premier.

Ray, who has also played for the likes of Rye United, St Leonards, Ashford Town, Kingstonian and Eastbourne United AFC, would be dropping down a level to join an Eastbourne Town side which finished runners-up in the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League last term.

Eastbourne Town also claim to have agreed terms with Evan Archibald, a striker who spent part of the 2014/15 campaign with Hastings before playing for Southern Combination Football League champions Horsham last season.

Meanwhile, the uncertainty continues over the future of Ollie Rowe, who captained United in the latter part of last season. Burgess Hill Town claimed last Thursday that Rowe had agreed terms with them for next term, but Hastings subsequently said he hadn’t left the club.

Burgess Hill manager Ian Chapman said this morning (Tuesday): “Ollie was going to come to us, but he has got a new job and it’s takes him right down to Canterbury, so I am going to have to speak to him next week as he is away now.

“I agreed everything with him but unfortunately where his job has taken him is two hours away and he’s a bit worried about the logistics of the trip. It was a done deal, but then he got the job. He didn’t think he would get it, then he got it!

“He’s away for a week, and then I need to have a look it. It’s a bit on awkward one really. It’s up in the air now.”

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