Legge living the dream with Bees

Leon Legge's fairytale rise from care support worker to professional footballer just keeps getting better and better.

The local lad signed for League One club Brentford in the summer from Ryman League side Tonbridge Angels and has since made huge strides at Griffin Park.

Legge, a tall and powerful central defender, made his debut in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy first round tie at Norwich City on September 1 and performed well in a 1-0 defeat.

But the 24-year-old made just one start in an FA Cup first round replay against Gateshead and a late substitute appearance in a league game at Yeovil Town in the next 12 weeks.

He was close to going out on loan before everything seemed to change on an FA Cup second round tie at home to league rivals Walsall on November 28.

Brentford won the match 1-0 and Legge was named player of the round having scored the goal and produced a last gasp tackle on Steve Jones to prevent a possible equaliser.

He has started every game since, winning two man of the match awards and having his one-year contract with a year's option extended until the end of next season.

What's more, his man of the match awards came against two of the division's big guns in Leeds United and Charlton Athletic with both games ending in draws.

Legge received his man of the match award in the Charlton game on Monday December 28 from Karen Kennedy, who runs the Wheatsheaf restaurant in Little Common.

After that match, he told www.brentfordfc.co.uk: "With the FA Cup Player of the Round award, keeping my spot and a couple of man of the match awards, it has been a strange month but a good month. I never expected it to be like this. I just love playing football and want to be out on that pitch."

Legge's promotion to the starting line-up has coincided with an upturn in fortune for the Bees, who were unbeaten in five league games before Saturday's 1-0 reverse away to new leaders Norwich who played most of the match with 10 men.

They then earned a 1-1 draw at home to Southampton on Tuesday night with Legge heading home the late equaliser.

Legge was a pupil at Bexhill High School and then Bexhill College where he was part of the squad which reached a national quarter-final in 2003, eventually losing to a team from Coventry run by former Coventry City, Norwich and Wales midfielder David Phillips.

He spent six years with the highly successful youth section at Little Common Football Club before playing for Sidley United at under-18 level. Legge later played non-league football for Hailsham Town, Eastbourne United AFC, Lewes and Tonbridge.