Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley said that his club is delighted with the deal which will take striker Harry Smith to Millwall after agreeing terms with the League One club.
The 21-year-old was undergoing a medical in south London today (Monday).
“The initial payment is somewhat less than we had hoped for, but with the add-ons this looks every bit as good an overall deal (for Invicta) as Johan Ter Horst’s transfer to Hull City a couple of years ago.”
“Sittingbourne insisted on a clause regarding any sell-on when he signed him last December and they get 15 per cent of the fee, but I believe that Harry’s got a real chance of making it at Millwall and could get his chance reasonably soon in one of the cup competitions they are involved in.”
The deal with the Lions also includes a sell-on clause and bonuses for appearances.
“If he works hard at it, I really believe that this could be the making of him.
“And who wouldn’t jump at the chance of becoming a full-time footballer?
“For a lad of six feet six his aerial presence is not all it could be, but I’m sure that they will work on that.
“His finishing and his touch are both excellent as we well know and quite naturally we wish him the very best of luck for the future. If he puts his mind to it I can see no reason why he won’t go a long way in the game.
Harry’s a nice lad who did well for us on the run-in to the title last season and I’m sure that the attention we attracted from the media must have helped put him in the shop window with a number of clubs monitoring his progress
“We’ve always said that we wouldn’t stand in the way of any good young player if this kind of opportunity came along
“That was also the case when Johan went to Hull, of course. He’s been involved in their first team pre-season games and I saw some pictures of their recent trip to Austria which made me very envious! The facilities looked superb over there.”
Part of this latest deal will see a full strength Millwall squad visiting the Fullicks Stadium next pre-season which should please Invicta chairman Paul Morgan, who is also an avid Lions’ supporter!!
Smith scored 13 goals in Folkestone’s title winning season and had notched seven for Sittingbourne between August and his departure just before Christmas, making a very creditable total of 20 for the 2015/16 campaign.
The youngster underwent a trial at Scottish Premier side Aberdeen and has been with Millwall since mid-July, appearing in friendlies at Dulwich Hamlet, Dover Athletic and Ryman League newcomers Greenwich Borough.
Uncertainty over the player’s future has been of concern to Invicta but now as Invicta begin to prepare without him for the start of the Ryman Premier Division season this coming weekend, Cugley added: “We’ll have virtually everyone else back for training this week.
“With holidays and niggling injuries – some worse than others – it’s been frustrating during pre-season, but it’s a situation I always knew we’d have to cope with and now we just want to get started on the real thing.
“I’m hopeful that we’re going to be able to bring two or three new players in over the next couple of weeks and clearly now it’s a case of the sooner the better.
“I was pleased with (trialist) Ben Pattie’s performance against Hythe – he scored both of our goals and clearly could give us something more up front.
“But he’s had a broken hand and hasn’t really done anything pre-season so I’m not quite sure how well he’d cope fitness-wise with a full (competitive) game just yet.
“There’s also the fact that he lives in Watford to consider – but he’s with the same agent as Harry (Smith) and I’m hopeful that we can work something out.”
Cugley continued: “I’ve said all along that we wanted to give the players who did so well for us last season the chance to show they want to be part of what we’re doing and ambitious enough to put in the work and succeed at Ryman Premier level. At this moment, I’ve got to confess that there are still a few of them I’m not sure about in that respect.”