Bertie Brayley has turned down a tempting move to Ryman League Division One North leaders VCD Athletic to stay and…
….help Great Wakering win the Essex Senior League.
The experienced striker was offered the chance to join the Crayford-based side on Monday afternoon, but turned it down out of loyalty to Wakering manager Dan Trenkel.
Brayley said: “It was a good offer and it was for more money. But I respect Dan and he is a friend and I told him I would be at Wakering until the end of the season – and that’s what I am going to do.”
Brayley has, however, agreed a dual registration deal with VCD which means he would be available to play for them if they finish in the play-offs. VCD are currently two points clear at the top of the division, but they are being chased hard by Witham, Harlow, Heybridge and Thurrock, among others.
Brayley joined Great Wakering’s title bid last week after falling out of favour at Chelmsford City.
The move means the 32-year-old started the season with the Clarets in the Skrill South – but will finish with Rovers in the Essex Senior League.
It is a campaign which also featured a loan spell with Ryman Premier strugglers Enfield Town.
But Brayley explained he was left with a decision to make after Chelmsford manager Mark Hawkes – who was appointed in November – made it clear he was surplus to requirements at a club where he has made more than 100 appearances.
Brayley said: “I was supposed to be on loan at Enfield from Chelmsford but I phoned the manager to say Enfield can’t afford to pay me anymore and he did not answer the phone, to be honest.
“So that with Chelmsford just fizzled out because my face with him just didn’t fit.
“It was nothing to do with my performances – it was just that my face didn’t fit in.
“So I had a month off, but I have always spoken to Trenks and Wakering’s assistant-manager Gary Ansell, and we swapped some messages.
“And it was only in the last couple of weeks I thought to myself that I was really missing football.
“I did have offers from elsewhere but they are a great bunch of lads at Wakering and I know a few of them well. And me and Trenks locked horns last year when I was manager at Basildon United.
“And it was just a case of them being at the top of the league and me thinking it will be nice to go and help someone try to achieve something rather than just trying to get out of a relegation battle.
“And I have respect for Dan and Gary so it was a no-brainer for me because it is nice and local.”
Brayley, who lives on Canvey, has played for nearly thirty clubs since coming through the ranks at West Ham at the turn of the century, and last season was player-manager at Basildon.
Trenkel says he is “not naive enough to think that other clubs won’t pick up the phone to him” now that he is playing at Step 5 level.
But Brayley – who played in wins over Sawbridgeworth Town and Stansted last week – says his only focus is on helping Rovers win as many of their final seven league games as possible.
He said: “I have not got a crystal ball so I don’t know what will happen. I love football and I will play for any team.
“I have yo-yoed up and down the leagues all my career. When I am fit I am good enough to play higher and when I take my foot off the gas and I am not as fit – I can drop down the leagues.
“I’m 32 now so I am coming into the twilight of my career and it is up to me how long I can play for. I want to work hard next season and play as high as I can again.
“You never know what is going to happen but I will be at Wakering until the end of the season to try and help them win the league. And there is still a bit of hard work to do that.
“But I’ve been impressed with how – despite their lofty position – all the players have their feet on the ground and are ready to do what is needed.”