Over the past couple of days, Bristol Manor Farm Manager Lee Lashenko has started to announce his first signings ahead of the 2022/23 Southern League season. The first trio of deals were announced on Wednesday, with Josh Ford, Jayden Nielsen and Owen Howe signing on the dotted line – followed by an off-field acquisition after it was confirmed that Grantley Dicks will stay on as Lashenko’s assistant in the dugout.
On Thursday morning, two more announcements were made. The exciting young talent, George Fowler, was the fourth signing confirmed by Lashenko as his first-team squad started to take shape. Fowler joined the club from Paulton Rovers in March and made a handful of substitute appearances for the Farm as the club secured its highest league finish – and reached the division’s play-off final.
Mike Bryant was the next out-of-contract player to follow suit, rejoining his fellow teammates back at BS9. Bryant worked tirelessly in the middle of the pack last season, including scoring in back-to-back matches against Lymington Town and Paulton. Bryant’s experience at this level and beyond with Mangotsfield, Slimbridge and Yate Town will prove to be very helpful, as the club look to go one step further next season.
On Friday morning, Manor Farm’s veteran shot-stopper, Ben John, confirmed that he wants to stay at The Creek and continue the club’s fight for promotion next season. John was awarded the ‘Player of the Season’ accolade after he was commended for his first-class performances in-between the sticks. Supporters who travelled to AFC Totton will remember the invaluable saves made, as well as denying Frome Town in the play-off semi-final match at Badgers Hill.
Shortly afterwards, Kye Simpson was announced as Farm’s seventh summer signing. The powerful forward made a blistering start to life at The Creek after joining from rivals Mangotsfield United last March, scoring an acrobatic volley against Willand Rovers on his debut. Simpson continued his strong vein of form, including a first-half strike against Frome Town in the play-off semi-final.
Friday’s exciting day of transfers would be concluded at 5:30 pm, with another player who was instrumental to the Farm’s successes last season signing on for the 2022/23 season. Former Exeter City, Forest Green Rovers, Bristol Rovers and Torquay United winger Jake Gosling became Lashenko’s eighth acquisition. Gosling became an instant hit at The Creek after ‘he arrived’ from Northern Premier League Division One Midlands side Sporting Khalsa in November, assisting and scoring in a vast range of matches – most notably away to last year’s champions, Plymouth Parkway, and in the division play-off final against Winchester City just six weeks ago.
The Farm’s transfer activity ahead of the new season will continue to gather pace, with two more key players being announced at 9:00 am on Saturday morning. Make sure you follow us on Twitter (@ManorFarmFC) and on Instagram (bristol_manor_farm) to keep up-to-date with all the latest news from inside The Creek.