Promotion Special: Big Ben signing was stroke of genius

MIKE Kearns described the signing of striker Ben Mackey as a stroke of genius recently.

Talking to his manager Dennis Greene, in an interview for the club’s SNTV YouTube channel, Kearns pondered a time - earlier in the season - when the two of them sat down and discussed the slight wobble the team was going through.

“We were 11 points behind Slough with three games in hand,” said the chairman. “If knew if we won those three games we would still be two points behind.

“But what we did was we sat down and agreed to bring in a couple of players and that was a stroke of genius. Exactly the same as last year.

“That boosted the side, especially the signing of Ben Mackey, and we went on a great run.”

The importance of that one signing - a striker who had played at a higher level but had suffered a nasty leg break - cannot be overstated. The introduction of the tough centre forward who holds the ball up well and isn’t afraid to shoot on sight coincided with a renewed clarity in a side that might have begun to doubt itself - but only a little.

Introduced from the bench for a couple of games, Mackey quickly secured his starting place alongside Stefan Moore and the two forwards clicked.

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And then the club’s other striker, Shane Tolley, got injured - and Mackey’s arrival became doubly important.

Manager Dennis Greene said: “We would have had the last month of the season trying to get over the line with one forward.

“Ben Mackey has scored 20 league goals in three months. The season lasts for nine months. You add it up. That’s a potential 60 league goals a season.

“He came in and made such and impact and we went on that glorious run. Before he came in we were 11 points behind Slough.

“He’s been a tremendous asset to the club - but all of them have. Three quarters of that side were champions last year and they have stepped up a level and gone and done it again in style.”

The combination of Moore and Mackey will be more than good enough for the next step up, that’s for sure. And so will the many other members of the team.

Who they are, and who they aren’t, Kearns and Greene will surely be sitting down to discuss over the summer.