Blazey raid rivals for midfield stars

Blazey raid rivals for midfield stars

Chris Reski, pictured here in action for Bodmin Town, has, as expected, joined St Blazey once more

By Gareth Davies

24th March 2021

St Blazey have started their recruitment drive for next season under Phil Lafferty with the signings of Chris Reski and Neil Slateford.

Both players formed part of Lafferty’s all-conquering St Austell side from season 2014-15 with Reski joining from Bodmin Town. Slateford, meanwhile, ends a brief spell at Saltash United to reunite with a Lafferty for a third time in his career.

It is expected that the new arrivals at Blaise Park will be followed by many more familiar faces from Blazey’s Peninsula rivals with a deal for Helston’s Will Tinsley expected to be sealed this week.

Speaking exclusively to the Voice earlier this week, Lafferty revealed that Reski and Slateford agreeing to join the club sent ‘huge signals’ of intent from Blazey for 2021-22.

“I’m delighted with the signings and it will be the third time that I have worked with Chris and Neil,” Lafferty enthused. “They are tried and trusted, and I have been successful with both on more than one occasion. They are good lads, top drawer footballers and very good friends as well.

“I have been out of management for five years now. I have stayed in touch with most of my old players and while some people will sarcastically say ‘I never saw that coming’ and it was expected, I have still managed to get someone in from the champions elect in Saltash and that is great signing. I have also managed to get in a guy that has been involved in Vase finals and semi-finals from a very good club in Bodmin.

“For me, it reassures us that we get these players into St Blazey. Don’t get me wrong, I never doubted that we could, but to get these two over the line, with this amount of experience, reputation and calibre, does send out huge signals that we have intent at St Blazey next season.”

The signings have seen some Cornish football supporters predict that Blazey will become a team full of veteran campaigners. And while Lafferty accepts that people can form whatever opinion they choose of his side, he urges them to do so at the end of next season.

“Judge us at the end of next season as the proof will be in the pudding then,” he quipped. “We will take stock at that point but of course, before then, people are going to come down and pay their money to watch St Blazey and they will be very entitled to draw conclusions on whether they are ‘Dad’s Army’ and veterans, as some may say, or have these players got the bit between their teeth, fire in their bellies and enough in their collective tanks. As I have said, the proof of that will be in the pudding.”

Lafferty also says that those armchair critics who have chosen to question his recruitment policy so far, will further inspire his goals to bring success back to Blaise Park.

“I personally thrive on this type of thing,” he added. “However, motivation comes from within with me because if you say you are going to do something, you do it to the best of your ability.

“Along the way, if people keep fuelling that fire for you to deliver, by making suggestions, comments or doubts then keep pouring the petrol on the fire for me because that helps even more.”

With the capture of Reski and Slateford now rubber stamped, Lafferty has now confirmed news first revealed by the Voice last week, that he has approached Helston Athletic for versatile defender Will Tinsley. The Blaise Park chief was hopeful that this deal could be done before the week is out, with Voice sources revealing that a move for Ollie Brokenshire could be next, although Lafferty politely declined to comment on this latest link.

“I hope by the end of this week that Will Tinsley, another ex-player of mine who is very experienced will join us,” he added. “Again, I have worked with him on three different occasions and he also a guy that I trust and respect. He is a local boy, and you will never find a humbler and more honest lad. I’m hoping he will be our third signing after the other two this week.

“The sooner I can add more and more players the better so our preparations are better. I really don’t want to be spending my July and pre-season getting players on board and over the line.

“Of course we have to go within the guidelines and respect other clubs and players are cagey too. They don’t want to be the fourth signing; they want to be the fifth and sixth.

“I have spoken to Steve Massey (Helston boss) over the weekend to let him know my intentions and how I want to build my squad. That may or may not include some of his players and instead of firing off notices of approach every 28 days, he knows where I stand.”