NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: It’s out of Ives and into Neots as defensive star Liam McDevitt swaps one set of Saints for another
PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 June 2017
St Neots Town boss Matt Clements believes he has made a crucial capture in improving the club’s dismal defensive record.
Clements has confirmed the signing of centre-back Liam McDevitt from Huntingdonshire rivals St Ives Town.
Saints leaked more than a century of goals in the Southern League Premier Division alone last term and Clements, who took charge in January and successfully led the club to safety, will not tolerate a repeat.
He said: “We conceded 101 goals in the league and close to 120 in all competitions which is obviously far too many.
“We didn’t have a problem scoring goals, but we had a serious issue in keeping the ball out of our own net.
“I felt we lacked leaders and experience during the second half of last season and bringing Liam into the club addresses both of those issues.
“It was a no-brainer to sign him when the opportunity came up. He is a defender who loves to defend, and I feel he will be a fantastic capture for the club.
“He is one of the best in this league on his day, and is well respected. He will set high standards himself and demand his team-mates reach those same levels.”
Saints’ squad is quickly taking shape with McDevitt following three other new recruits - wideman Scott Sinclair, midfielder Luke Knight and striker Danny Watson into the Premier Plus Stadium. Like McDevitt, that trio are also former St Ives Town players.
Clements has also retained several players including left-back Jonny Herd, who agreed terms to stay last week.
The St Neots chief is also keen to tie down Taylor Parr, who was a mainstay of the club’s defence last season, but is understood to be attracting attention from elsewhere.
“I’d love Taylor to be part of the squad again,” added Clements. “He has been offered a deal for next season and we’ll talk when he gets from holiday this weekend.
“He knows he is wanted at St Neots and will hopefully be attracted to what we’re trying to build at the club.”
St Ives boss Ricky Marheineke was philosophical about the loss of McDevitt.
He insists the departed defender Liam should be remembered for his influential role in the club’s pleasing first season of Step 3 football.
McDevitt helped them finish 15th in their debut Southern League Premier Division campaign, while also reaching the League Challenge Cup final.
Marheineke said: “I would like to thank Liam for his efforts last season. He played his part in a successful first season at this level and helped us achieve our aim of survival.
“I hope he is remembered for what he did on the pitch rather than for the fact he has decided to leave.
“Players come and go in football. It’s not who you lose, but who you replace them with that’s most important.”
Marheineke still has strong central defensive options with skipper Charlie De’Ath and the vastly experienced Lee Chaffey committed for next season.