Scott Heard is on the brink of becoming Folkestone Invicta’s third talented youngster to make it into the full-time game after the Ryman Premier club accepted a bid from National League Dagenham & Redbridge for the all-action midfielder.
Heard, signed from then fellow Ryman South side Whitstable Town for a nominal fee less than 12 months ago, was a key member of Invicta’s championship winning 2015-16 squad. Since the start of the season the 23-year-old, pictured, has started all 17 games for Invicta boss Neil Cugley in the number eight shirt that he’s virtually made his own.
Heard follows trail-blazer and local product Johan Ter Horst who’s now been with Premier League Hull City for three years and fellow striker Harry Smith who is on the brink of a first team debut for League One Millwall.
Smith’s capture from Ryman South Sittingbourne 10 months ago saw him score 13 goals to help seal Folkestone’s promotion and now Heard – captured from Whitstable a couple of months earlier – is taking his first big step to follow in the footsteps of his former teammate.
Cugley said: “Dagenham & Redbridge have been keeping an eye on Heardy for quite a while now and though we may well miss his drive and energy we cannot stand in the way of anyone offered the chance of a full-time football career. Nothing’s signed just yet, but it should all be sorted out on Monday, and it goes without saying that we wish Scott all the very best for the future.”
In a club statement confirming Heard’s imminent departure, Invicta CEO Cliff Egan said they’d received a bid from the Daggers a few weeks ago and hailed Cugely for the work he’s done since to get the best deal possible for the Kent club.
Egan said: “Scott currently works for a Supermarket chain and is relishing the chance to go full time and earn a living from the game. He has done brilliantly for us since we signed him late last year and goes with our best wishes after helping us to beat Kingstonian in his farewell appearance this afternoon.
“As a part time club we will not stand in a player’s way if he has a chance to better himself and forge a career in the game – but clearly it is our duty to make sure we get the best possible deal for Folkestone Invicta Football Club – which I believe we have done.”
He added: “I must take this opportunity to congratulate Neil on signing Harry Smith and Scott Heard, both of whom we signed for small fees – which raised some eyebrows at the time. But not only did these lads both play their full part in our promotion from Ryman South to the Ryman Premier Division earlier this year, they have also turned out to be very good investments for this football club. Neil has always had a good eye for a player as these two deals have proved.”