AFC Totton boss Steve Riley has wasted no time stamping his mark on his new club.
Riley, appointed successor to Stuart Ritchie last Friday, has made four new signings – three of whom played for him at Bashley.
Striker Richard Gillespie – nicknamed ‘Mr Goals’ during his Bashley days – has agreed a one-year contract following his release from Blue Square Bet South outfit Eastleigh, whom he joined in July 2009 having netted 173 times in 308 Bash appearances.
He returned for two loan spells with Riley’s New Forest charges last season, scoring seven goals in 16 starts –
including the opener in the 4-4 Easter Monday classic against Totton.
“I seem to get the best out of Gilly,” said Riley. “He always scores goals and, if you give him the service, he makes things happen.
“He’s got Conference South pedigree and a turn of pace and, at 27, he’s in his prime.”
Riley’s second signing, goalkeeper Gareth Barfoot, has also made the switch from Eastleigh.
The 30-year-old needs no introduction to Stags’ fans having been a regular for Totton during their rise to Southern One South & West prominence.
“I’ve always liked Gareth. I tried to get him on loan at Bashley last season when David Elm got injured, but we couldn’t sort a deal out,” Riley revealed.
Totton’s other new arrivals are former Winchester City and Dorchester Town midfielder Dave Allen, who was Riley’s
skipper at Bashley, and versatile former Portsmouth YTS and Poole Town defender Luke Whitley.
Between them, the dependable duo made nearly 80 Southern Premier starts last term.
“I’m really pleased with all the signings, particularly as clubs like Weymouth and Gosport are trying to strengthen their squads,” said Riley.
“Dave Allen had a good offer from Weymouth and it’s fantastic from our point of view that he’s chosen Totton. When you’re in the trenches Dave will stand up and be counted.
“Luke was a virtual ever-present last season. He’s 6ft 3in and plays anywhere across the back.
“I call him the ‘racing snake’ because he’s so fit.
“He’s a steady, reliable player.”
See this weekend's SPORTS PINK for eight pages of non-league news.