Hastings United have completed the signing of former Chelsea and Watford goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley.
That move completed a double swoop for the club as winger Harry Stannard also signed for United.
Pidgeley started his career at Chelsea, but was loaned out to Watford just after he was signed. His debut came during a win agaist Crewe Alexandra.
Upon his return to Chelsea, Pidgeley was on the bench during their 2005 Football League Cup Final win against Liverpool at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff.
He made his debut for the Premier League giants in the final home game of the 2004/05 season against Charlton Athletic and joined in with the celebrations as Chelsea were crowned the Premier League Champions.
With a wealth of experience in the Football League by being at Clubs such as Millwall, Bradford City and Exeter City, Pidgeley also has National Team experience. He was selected in 2000 to preresent England in their U16 team, and with 13 appearances that season, he went on to represent the country in the U18, U19 and U20s teams.
Pidgeley has spent most of his career at Newport County, but his last match came in 2015 at Mansfield Town.
He has since signed for Leatherhead, then Forest Green Rovers, who narrowly missed out on being promoted to the Football League after a 3-1 defeat to Grimsby Town in the Play-Off final in May 2016.
Darren Hare has described this as an “Unbelievable signing” and went on to explain how Pidgeley could still be playing “In the Conference, or League Football”
Stannard has come through the youth ranks at Gillingham and has been working closely with Hare and has impressed everyone in his first three games for the U’s, including a hat-trick in the pre-season friendly against Eastbourne Town.
Hare has said: “I’m absolutely delighted we have managed to secure Lenny’s signature. I have always wanted to target an experienced keeper and I have to say they don’t with much more experience that Lenny has.
He is still a Football League keeper in my opinion and this move signifies his desire to want to be successful and also the fact he is willing to drop into the lower divisions to continue and further his career. It also shows the ambition of the board and the football club.
His knowledge and experience of the game is second to none and it would have been somewhat remiss of me not to tap into that as a new Manager so I am also very happy to say he will joining our coaching staff as player coach to support me and Watty.
I believe we have a very experienced and knowledgable base now to propel this club into the future it can aspire to aim for.”
“Those of you that have seen the last three games will have noticed the performances of young Harry Stannard.
His lack of fear to try and experiment with things and his hattrick the other day persuaded me to offer him a 1 year deal, and he has thankfully agreed. He will provide interesting competition for the boys in forward areas, and I will give him his chance for sure”
Source: Hastings United