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By Nick Garnham
Friday, November 23, 2012
ALTHOUGH it was a wrench to leave Felixstowe & Walton United, Matt Ryland has no regrets at his decision to join Brantham Athletic this season.
The Seasiders’ skipper quit the club in the summer to sign for fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Brantham.
Ryland joined Felixstowe at the start of the 2009/10 season and took over the captain’s armband the following season, when he swept the board at the end-of-season player-of-the-year awards.
Last season, like the previous one, was successfully spent battling against relegation, before joint manager Kevin Witchalls and Rob Charles both resigned.
Other players were talking of leaving the club, and when Brantham came calling Ryland admitted: “It was a really tough call, but I could see it self-imploding at Felixstowe.
“At 26 I saw this as my last chance to come and play for a side who can hopefully challenge for things.
“This is my tenth season and the highest I have finished in the league was fifth (in 2006/07) when I was at Leiston.”
Left back Ryland, who started his career as a 17-year-old at AFC Sudbury, has repaid Brantham’s faith in him by starting every match so far this season and living up to his ‘Mr Consistent’ tag.
He continued: “If you look at what Brantham achieved last season, when they finished third, they have since lost two good players but have a stronger squad overall with the players who have come in.
“It has been a superb move for me – I have started every game and (manager) Tony Hall and (coach) Colin Grogan have been great to me.”
Brantham currently sit third in the Premier Division and are in the last 64 of the FA Vase.
Ryland, not surprisingly, retains a soft spot for the Seasiders.
“They are still the first result I look for on a Saturday, and I still keep in contact with all of them – it is a good club.”