Owner/Manager Glen Tamplin has been very busy this pre-season making a number of signings and has confidently predicted on social media that The Blues will top the division come the end of the 2017/18 campaign. Robbie Evans (from Vanarama National side Wrexham), Ricky Modeste (from Vanarama National side Dover Athletic), Louie Theophanous (from Vanarama South Chelmsford City), Josh Urquhart (from Vanarama South side Wealdstone but spent time on-loan with Hendon last season) along with Dan Waldren and Dan Walker (both from Vanarama South side Welling United) have all joined the Essex side.
'The New Lodge' has been renamed 'The AGP Arena' and is undergoing a full transformation this summer ready for the new season.
Off the pitch a new Director of Football has been recruited. Ian Hendon was in charge of Leyton Orient for a short spell last season and has also managed Barnet and Dover Athletic (for only 18 days) in his career along with being a youth coach and first-team coach at West Ham United and assistant manager at Gillingham. MMA professional fighter Neil 'Goliath' Grove has also joined as 'Head of Nutrition'.
On Tuesday 11th July The Blues play their first pre-season friendly with a trip to St Albans City.
Newly promoted Regent have had a shift round in their management structure. 'Performance Analyst' Mike Wallace (who has only with the club for Five Months) has left to be Assistant Manager at Eastern Counties League side FC Clacton. Head Coach Angelo Harop has also left the club.
Ryan Salter will be Head Coach, Pip Boyland player/coach and Chris Smith Assistant to James Webster for next season at North Road.
The club have a very busy pre-season line up with no less than ten games scheduled. Their first game comes on Saturday 8th July with a trip to Little Oakley followed by a home game against Chelmsford City on Tuesday 11th July. Long Melford, FC Clacton, Brantham Athletic, AFC Sudbury, Brentwood Town, Bury Town, Bowers & Pitsea and Tilbury are also opponents for the Essex side.
Burgess Hill Town
Manager Ian Chapman has made a number of new signings in preparation for the new season. Tony Garrod (a striker) has joined from Division One (South) Three Bridges and Aaron Smith Joseph (another striker) from Vanarama National side Woking who spent time with the club dual registered last season. Joey Taylor (another to spend time with the club dual-registered last season) has joined from Welling United. Goalkeeper Max Hunter (who stands at 6ft 4inches) has also signed from Vanarama National side Bromley. He played on-loan for the club last season.
Saturday 8th July sees The Hillians in action in their first pre-season friendly game with a trip to Haywards Heath Town. Vanarama South sides Eastbourne Borough (Thursday 13th July) and Whitehawk (Thursday 20th July) are scheduled to visit The Green Elephants Stadium in pre-season.
Newly promoted Wanderers are managed by Marc White has retained the nucleus of last season's play-off winning squad and also added two impressive signings which shows their intentions not just to make up the numbers next season. Midfielder Brannon O'Neill was with Worthing last season where he made over 50 appearances and scored 7 goals has joined along with forward Luke Moore who was with Billericay Town and Leatherhead last season. He is vastly experienced having played for Margate as well as Ebbsfleet United and AFC Wimbledon whom he helped win promotion from the Conference to the Football League. Wanderers are scheduled to kick off their pre-season campaign against Frimley Green in a game played at Bisham Abbey.
Hamlet start their pre-season games with a short trip to Beckenham Town on Tuesday 11th July. They also host Crawley Town, Crystal Palace, Brentford and Leyton Orient at Champion Hill during July and the early part of August.
In transfer news defender Matt Drage has left Champion Hill with Anthony Acheampong and Ricky Hayles joining. Acheampong is a defender and joins from Maidstone United having also represented Welling United, Barnet and Ebbsfleet United in his career. Hayles joins from Welling United and is well known to most Isthmian League fans having played for East Thurrock United, Lowestoft Town, AFC Hornchurch and Canvey Island previously. He played for ETU in the 2016 play off final against The Hamlet.
It's all change at Donkey Lane as Manager Bradley Quinton has left to join Vanarama South Braintree Town and has already signed goal-keeper Nathan McDonald from The Town. Midfielder/Defender/Utility player Percy Kianebengi and defender Harold Joseph have also left the club to join another Vanarama South side in St Albans City. The new man is charge is Andy Leese who left Southern Premier Division Chesham United in March after a successful eleven year spell. He will be assisted by former Leyton Orient, Birmingham City, Cardiff City and Millwall (amongst many other clubs) defender Darren Purse who is also signed on as a player. The 40 year old veteran played Chesham United (30 + times), Bishops Stortford and AFC Rushden and Diamonds last season.
The Kent club have lost centre-backs Liam Friend (to Margate), Frankie Chappell (to Lewes), Miles Cornwall (rejoined Sittingbourne whom he joined the club from in the early part of the 16/17 campaign) and Sam Beale. Joining the club are Michael Everitt, striker Ade Yusuff and left sided midfielder Kieron McCann. Everitt is a club legend having made 560 starts and 76 substitute appearances for Invicta - the 34 year old came out of retirement towards the end of last season playing a major part in keeping Neil Cugley's side out of the relegation zone in the final games of the season.
The club's two most high profile friendly games are against Millwall on Tuesday 11th July and Dagenham & Redbridge on Monday 31st July.
The Hawks have lost defender Layne Eadie to St Albans City but have swooped to sign James Baker and Jack Wilkinson from AFC Sudbury who were relegated at the end of last season. Baker has played over 300 times for AFC scoring 97 goals - he was orignally a target man/centre forward but has recently dropped back to play in Central-Defence. Wilkinson is a left-sided midfielder/defender and looks a direct replacement for the departing Eadie.
The Essex side have a full programme of pre-season games including entertianing Leyton Orient on Tuesday 11th July and taking part in a three team tournament along at Cheshunt on Saturday 29th July at Theobalds Lane.
Coming soon Harrow Borough to Worthing.