Ryan Pryce may play in eighth tier of English football but he enjoys an enduring glove affair with the game.
That is why you will find the loyal Fleet Town goalkeeper in Malta this week. He has spent his hard-earned cash participating in a specialised training camp, organised by the Southern League Division One Central club.
Run by former Malta international Mario Muscat, Pryce, 29, helps coach Academy goalkeepers by day and works with the island’s top shot-stoppers in the evening.
Fleet manager Craig Davis explained: “We were happy to set this up for Ryan as we cannot afford to pay him what he is worth. He is the best goalkeeper in our league.
“I suppose it is quite innovative but we see ourselves as a forward-thinking club. I think the training camp will do him more good than playing in friendlies.”
Pryce, who was on Bournemouth’s books as a youngster, thinks nothing of making a 110-mile round trip across the commuter belt to training from his home in Salisbury.
Davis said: “Ryan was my first signing five years ago when I joined Fleet. I have been around non-league for a while and I do not think you could meet a more dedicated trainer.
“He never misses a session and always puts in a shift. He loves what he does and enjoys it here. He likes the atmosphere around the place.
“Ryan could play at a higher level and earn more elsewhere but he can see we are trying to develop the club.”
Fleet finished in the lower reaches of the league last season and travel from Hampshire to Barton Rovers on the opening day of the new campaign.
Davis added: “People say avoiding relegation would be an achievement but I will not settle for that. We should be aiming for mid-table or maybe even higher.”
Article: Ken Gaunt