Leaving Saltash was not an easy decision, says Slateford

Leaving Saltash was not an easy decision, says Slateford

New St Blazey signing Neil Slateford has revealed that his decision to leave Saltash United ‘wasn’t easy’.

By Gareth Davies

24th March 2021

New St Blazey signing Neil Slateford has revealed that his decision to leave Saltash United ‘wasn’t easy’.

The cultured midfielder, who at 30 is in the prime of his career, joined the Ashes in the late autumn last year and ironically, made his bow for the Kimberley outfit in a 0-0 draw against St Blazey.

He went onto make four appearances for Saltash, netting one goal in the Boxing Day victory over Liskeard Athletic.

However, when Phil Lafferty replaced sacked Blazey joint-bosses Matt Hayden and Shaun Vincent in February, Slateford says that the chance to work under his former St Austell boss was one that excited him.

In an exclusive interview with the Voice, Slateford also says that the chance to join a club closer to home was appealing, while hitting back at critics who say that Lafferty is simply trying to recreate his successful St Austell side, which came within 90 minutes of an FA Vase final appearance in 2015.

Firstly, discussing his departure from Saltash, Slateford said: “It wasn’t an easy decision and not through the fault of anyone, I have only played four games for Saltash. I really enjoyed it at Saltash as they have a good thing going up there. They have a really good bunch of lads and Dane (Bunney) is a top man.

“But as you can imagine, when Laffs mentioned it to me, it was of interest because Blazey is local to me too. I was always quite excited to work with him again and I think I have made the right decision.

“We under-achieved after Laffs left St Austell. I know the year me and Damo (Damon Mulready) were in charge (2018-19) we had a really good side and played some good football and should have done a bit better than we actually did. We also had a lot of success under Laffs and he will always want those players to play under him again. I don’t think it is just a case of getting the 2015 St Austell side back together again.

“Some of us have been around a long time but aren’t quite veterans yet. I am only 30 and still have a few years in me yet. I am sure that Laffs will also sign players that weren’t part of the 2014-15 side so perhaps it is a case of watching this space.”

Whilst stopping short of a bold prediction of immediate success returning to Blaise Park, Slateford did highlight the desire Lafferty has to win trophies with Blazey and expects his new club to challenge former side Saltash and Mousehole for the league next term

“Laff’s has made his intentions very clear from the start at Blazey that he doesn’t see this as a five- or six-year project,” Slateford said. “He wants success straight away and the players he wants to sign, along with the likes of me coming in, gives us a pretty good chance of finishing in the top two or three.

“We wouldn’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves because there are some good sides around in Saltash and Mousehole, but if we put a good side together, we can have a good go also.”

Blazey will be Slateford’s third club in the past six months after his time at Helston ended on something of a sour note before moving to Kimberley. He now feels that the time is right to settle at Blazey, while saying his departure from Kellaway Park was ‘okay’ and thanked Ashes boss Dane Bunney for not standing in the way of a reunion with Lafferty.

“I would almost like to think that this would be my final move,” Slateford remarked. “I know you never say never in football, but I can’t see myself moving anywhere else now as this is my final big move where I want to do the best I can and finish with some trophies over the next couple of years at St Blazey.”