The Ryman Football League
Published 31st May 2012
.....Rangers for next season – despite interest from League clubs.
Scouts from npower League One side Colchester United were among those to watch the thirty-three-goal striker this season, but the 25-year-old says it was an easy decision to stay with the Beachboys.
“I’ve had seven or eight clubs showing an interest,” Stokes, who came up through the famous West Ham United academy, told the Basildon Recorder.
“They’ve always spoken to manager Dan Cowley or chairman Ant Smith, and they always called me to let me know about the interest. “They’ve always been as good as gold with me since I came here from playing in Hungary, and I really appreciate that.
“But it was a case of me just waiting for people to get in touch, and they never got back to me, and that is how it can be with the pro game.
“And I am happy and settled here at Concord, I’m playing good football, and I like the people I’m surrounded by.
“So it was not a hard decision to make and I’m delighted to be staying.”
Stokes has also attracted interest from League One Hartlepool United, Blue Square Bet Premier newcomers Dartford, and Conference South heavyweights Chelmsford City, along with a host of clubs from the Ryman Premier.
But he said his only focus now is in helping to fire Concord into a play-off position in the coming campaign, and says their prospects have been hugely boosted by the decision of his eighteen-goal strike partner Harry Elmes to also commit to the club for another year.
Stokes said: “I think Concord were the third highest scorers in the division last season, and if we can have another fifty-goal partnership next year and get a few goals from other areas too then we will be in with a good chance of reaching the play-offs.
“As players, Harry and I complement each other because he is great at leading the line and I can do some good things when I drop a bit deeper.
“He is such a good player and we have got a very good partnership going.”
Stokes missed the first eight games of last season as he recovered from a groin problem, but he says this time around he will be as fit as he has ever been going into the new campaign.
He said: “I’ve been in the gym every night since the end of the season, and I’ll be running every morning when I go away on my holiday.
“So next season I’ll be a lot fitter and stronger and if I can get up to thirty goals again I’ll be happy with that.”