... Newhaven Town.
"NEWHAVEN have pulled off a major coup with the shock signing of Brighton legend Kerry Mayo.
The 33-year-old, who made more than 350 appearances for The Albion, came out of retirement to sign for the County League side on Thursday November 18 and marked his first appearance with a goal in Saturday’s 4-2 win at Pease Pottage.
Mayo made around 150 of his Brighton appearances in midfield and then moved to left-back before a groin injury forced him to end a 13-year professional career in 2009.
“Because of my injuries I am not able to do all that much sprinting or anything too dynamic, what I’m hoping to do is use my experience and organisational skills in the middle of the pitch,” said Mayo, who also scored in a friendly win on Wednesday night. “But I’ll still be putting myself about as much as my groin will allow.”
Having suffered cruciate knee ligament damage while on loan at Lewes in 2008 before groin problems forced him to hang up his boots early a year later, Mayo has endured more than his fair share of injuries but he said his love of the game makes it worth playing through the pain.
“It gets to about 15, 20 minutes into the game and I’m in absolute agony,” he said. “I live in Newhaven anyway and often walked my dog past the ground and saw the lads playing and I always thought about getting back into football so when the opportunity came I took it.
“I love the game so much so I’m delighted to be back playing but obviously I’m not going to play until I’m in a wheelchair.”
Mayo won two championship medals with Brighton in 2001 and 2002 and is amongst a handful of players to have turned out for the Seagulls at three different home grounds, the Goldstone, Priestfield and the Withdean.
He said the ambition of the club was a major factor in his decision to sign adding: “People who know me know I like a joke and the Newhaven lads are a good bunch, the banter is pretty good and that’s one of the things I’ve missed more than anything.”
The move was initiated by Newhaven’s sponsors, leading private investment company Trafalgar, who are based in the town and sponsor the team’s shirts as well as committing to future investment in the youth structure and ground improvements at Fort Road.
Newhaven’s chairman Andrew Lloyd said: “It’s a massive signing because he’s got so much experience. He had 13 years as a professional at Brighton so it’s quite a big scoop really.
“We are an ambitious club and one of the reasons we wanted Kerry to come in was to help bring on some of the young players and with the contacts he built up as a player we’re hoping we’ll be able to attract other players of his calibre in the future.”