Banbury United have revealed that 30 year-old locally based midfielder Darren Pond has agreed to return to the club for next season.
Darren came through the youth and reserve sides at Banbury United, making his first team debut for the club as a 17 year-old against Cirencester Town in August 2004. He went on to make 107 first team appearances for the club, scoring nine goals before moving to Oxford City in the summer of 2007.
He spent nine years at City and, despite missing a large part of season 2009/10 and the whole of season 2010/11 with a serious knee injury, made over 300 appearances for them through to the end of season 2015/16, scoring over 50 goals. In his time at City he was a key part of two promotion winning squads from the Southern League South & West Division, through the Southern League Premier Division and up to the Conference Regional Leagues.
Darren left Oxford City last summer and joined then Southern League Premier Division Leamington and made 44 appearances for them last season as they earned promotion through the play-offs to the National League North.
Banbury United Manager Mike Ford commented “I am really pleased that Darren has agreed to join the club. He is vastly experienced at this and the level above and will add quality and skill to the side.
He has been part of two promotion winning sides from our current Division, both whilst at Oxford City and last season at Leamington. I’ve worked previously with Darren at City and he was instrumental in the success we had and I rate him highly and made him captain of the side. I know that with Darren being a local lad many United supporters would have liked to have seen him back in a Puritan shirt before now but a combination of circumstances has meant it has not been possible but I am delighted that I have now been able to bring him in this summer.
With Darren and local lads Tom Winters and Leam Howards having joined this summer and with us already having Jack Harding, Ricky Johnson and Darius Browne, who all live locally, in the side then to have all these local high quality players here at the same time is testament to how far the club has come over the last two years.”
Banbury United Chairman Ronnie Johnson added “I am delighted that we have been able to bring to the club another quality local player in Darren Pond. We have already got agreement from local players Tom Winters and Leam Howards to join us for next season and with us also having Ricky Johnson, Jack Harding and Darius Browne at the club I am especially pleased that as a local community focused and supporters owned club that we have moved the club forward to the stage where the best locally based football talent want to play for Banbury United and that we are able to bring them to the club.”
Source: Banbury United FC