WILL GROCOTT says he is delighted to continue his love affair with Stratford Town after agreeing a new deal.
The playmaker had been a target for several clubs post-season but the former Kettering Town midfielder said he is keen to play his part in new boss Darren Byfield’s plans.
Grocott has become the eighth player from last season’s squad to confirm his future at the MoodChimp Stadium, while Byfield has also captured three additions – including former favourite Kieren Westwood – in a busy week of activity.
Grocott said he is excited by the plans Byfield has been outlining.
“From speaking to Darren, it’s clear he wants to put together a strong squad,” said Grocott.
“Some players have left but that’s football. I had offers from elsewhere but I love it at Stratford Town.”
There has been uncertainty over Grocott’s future, especially after he was announced as the new deputy academy boss at Rugby Town under ex-Stratford assistant boss Liam O’Neill. Former Stratford boss Carl Adams has already recruited four Town players to his first-team squad but Grocott, who works as a football coach, said he was not interested in playing there.
“My heart is at Stratford, I have grown very attached to the club and the supporters and it’s been a big part of my life for the last two years,” he said.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of Darren’s plans and see it as a fresh start and I’m excited for all of the players that have stayed on and for the new arrivals as we enter the new league.
“I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Byfield’s jigsaw has been taking shape with Grocott one of eight players from last term to remain at the MoodChimp.
Skipper James Fry, fellow midfielders James Hancocks and Charlie Evans, defenders Dan Summerfield and Andy Gallinagh plus strikers Mike Taylor and Jazz Luckie have all agreed to stay.
Rugby had initially announced Taylor was joining them but the forward – Stratford’s second top-scorer last term – had a change of heart.
“I love this club and the fans, Stratford has become my home,” said Taylor. “When Darren gave me the call I was happy he wanted me to be part of his plans going forward. His vision for the club and his ambitions made my decision very easy!”
The return of left-back Westwood from Stafford Rangers will be another huge plus. The defender became a firm favourite, winning two player of the year awards, before moving to Stourbridge in February 2017 and then on to Stafford.
Byfield’s other new recruits are former Redditch and Halesowen Town defender Jack Coates and centre-back or midfielder Brad Maslen-Jones from Rushall Olympic.
Both have professional club backgrounds, with Coates coming through the ranks at Aston Villa whilst Maslen-Jones was a former Stratford youth player before getting his chance with Peterborough United and then Hull City.