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Cooper-Clark joins host of Thatcham players to agree terms ahead of new season

The Kingfishers are resigning players for their Southern League West campaign

Liam Headd

Liam Headd

liam.headd@newburynews.co.uk

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Cooper-Clark joins host of Thatcham players to agree terms ahead of new season

DANNY Robinson feels ‘blessed’ after last season’s top goalscorer Shane Cooper-Clark extended his stay at the club for another year.

The 25-year-old striker scored an incredible 62 goals in all competitions last year, including the winner in last month’s FA Vase final against Stockton Town at Wembley.

Cooper-Clark made 57 appearances last year and created a formidable partnership with Liam Ferdinand, who scored 38 goals during his time with both Bracknell Town and Thatcham.

Speaking after the announcement, manager Robinson said: “As a club, we are delighted to have Shane stay with us for the upcoming season.

“Scoring 62 goals last season speaks for itself and we can look forward to seeing him at the next level.”

Robinson had plenty of power in attack with Gavin James and Ross Cook also hitting double figures.

The Kingfishers boss said: “I am blessed to have Shane, but also blessed to have three other great strikers in Ferdinand, Gavin James and Ross Cook, who have all played a massive part in the success last season.”

As well as Cooper-Clark staying, skipper Tom Melledew, full-back Curtis Angell and centre-back Gareth Thomas have also re-signed for the 2018/19 season, when Thatcham will play in the Southern League West Division.

And keeper Chris Rackley, Harrison Bayley and Tom Moran have all agreed to stay with the club, with more expected to follow.
Robinson believes the versatility of Angell has proven to be key for his plans next season.

“It’s massive for us,” he said. “Curtis is a very good player who is local and who can play in a variety of positions.

“As the season progressed, he just got better and better so we’re really chuffed with that.”

The 32-year-old was also delighted to keep hold of his captain and Thomas as both have had lengthy playing careers with the club.

He said: “It was also really important to get Tom Melledew – the most decorated captain in Thatcham’s history – over the line now.

“Gareth is Thatcham through and through – he’s an absolute legend and apart from his stint with Hungerford at the start of last season, he’s been with the club for about 10 years, on and off.

“We’ve got two club stalwarts who we very much need and they’ve both got Southern League experience and I’m over the moon they’ve agreed to stay.”

Robinson also revealed that there will be new faces at Waterside Park this summer and having Melledew as captain will help new additions settle in well.

He said: “Tom is experienced, the players look up to him and all last year they did too.

“It’s a very tough, physical and demanding league and we need as many leaders as we can.”

It was announced last week that midfielder Harry Grant will leave the club this summer and, despite seeing him go, Robinson sees a bright future for the 24-year-old.

He said: “Harry is a good kid and he’s technically a very good player.

“He’ll be an asset to anyone that he signs for and I’m sure that, whatever he decides to do, he’ll do well and give his best.”

A full pre-season schedule has now been confirmed for Thatcham.

The Kingfishers will face Brimscombe & Thrupp, Sholing, Flackwell Heath, Salisbury City, Binfield, Hungerford Town, AFC Stoneham, Aylesbury and Hayes & Yeading in the build-up to the season.

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