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Mev Calls Time on Long Invicta Career

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Former captain and midfield dynamo Michael Everitt is calling time on more than half-a-lifetime spent with Ryman League Division One South champions Folkestone Invicta.

While Neil Cugley takes charge of what will be his 1,001st charge as manager at Invicta this weekend, Mev as he’s known by almost everyone in Folkestone, will making his 631st and farewell appearance in the Black and Amber of his home-town club.

Everitt, 33, followed up the promise he’d always shown in Invicta’s various age youth sides with some impressive performances in the reserves before being handed his first team debut by Cugley as a 16-year-old in August 1999.

He recalls: “It was against Bashley at home in the Southern League Eastern Division. We won 4-0 and I scored. I think at that time I was the youngest player to have scored for Folkestone at senior level.”

Michael is the elder of two Folkestone brothers, James having also had many good years at Invicta, who shared the ups and downs that every football club has to go through as both became established non-League footballers.

In his first season (1999-2000) Everitt helped the club gain promotion as runners-up to Fisher Athletic and fittingly, if this does prove the end of his long association with Invicta, he’s going out at the top in what is surely the best and most successful season they have ever known.

One other very fond memory came when he captained Folkestone away at Chester City when they reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history – eventually losing 2-1 at the Deva Stadium in November 2005.

The only breaks in Everitt’s ‘long service’ came with a loan spell in his much younger days at Sittingbourne, and one season as player-coach at Whitstable Town under ex-Gillingham and Dover legend Nicky Southall four years ago.

His return to Invicta in Autumn 2013/14 following knee surgery sparked an upturn in the club’s fortunes and they went on to finish runners-up in Ryman One South for two years in a row before landing the championship this time around.

Even then he might not have been a part of this season’s triumph before being tempted out of semi-retirement by Cugley, who said: “He was as fit as he’s been for a long time when he came back for us last November and has played his part in everything we’ve achieved this season.

“Mev has been a tremendous servant to this football club for so many years and we really missed him that season he wasn’t here.

“I feel he’s still got one more good season in him and could do a job for us in the Premier Division, but I have to respect his decision.

“The midfield partnership he quickly developed with Phil Starkey has been an important factor in some of the tougher games that we’ve won this season.

“This has been a fantastic season for this football club and it wouldn’t have seemed right if Mev had not been a part of it.”

Everitt himself said: “Following a great deal of thought, I have made the very difficult decision to make Saturday’s game my last in a Folkestone shirt.

“Cugs rang me last week asking if I’d stay and play in the Ryman Premier next season. That is, of course, an exciting opportunity, but having had time to ponder over it, I have had to decline.

“The extra commitment required to play in the Ryman Premier – particularly the travelling – would make things very difficult with my work commitments.

“Most people know that I left the club at the end of last season to concentrate on my work, but I always knew then, at the back of my mind, that I would be back at some stage – and that obviously proved right when I started playing again in last autumn.

“But I know that the time is right to leave now. I don’t think there could be a better time – there can’t be too many players who can say they left their home town club after winning the league championship so convincingly!

“I want to also express my huge gratitude to the supporters of this football club who are truly amazing!

“During my sixteen seasons at the club, I’ve always had the full backing of the fans regardless of if I’ve had a bad game or we’ve lost.

“You Invicta fans are supportive through and through – in great times and in bad times. And I want to thank you all sincerely for the support you’ve always given me.

“I’m proud to be leaving as the club’s record appearance holder, but I’ll be delighted when Friendy, Chappy or JV break my record and then set it again even higher for the next exciting youth prospect to break through.

“I’d also like to congratulate Neil on such an amazing achievement of managing Folkestone for a thousand games. He deserves all the plaudits he receives for reaching that fantastic landmark.

“I also want to thank him for giving me the opportunity to make my debut as a substitute for my home town club all those years ago when I was 16.

“It was at home against Bashley and I scored on my debut.

“Neil has been a big part of my career and I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to him and the football club.

“I’m not sure what my next step will be.

“I envisage getting involved again in coaching at some stage, possibly becoming an assistant or manager one day.

“I might carry on playing – but there is every chance that I will stop.

“Maybe one day I can return to serve Folkestone again, in whatever capacity best helps the club.

“I want to wish Neil, Edgey, Jason and the boys all the success next year in the Premier and I have no doubt that this time the club will kick on again and consolidate their position at that level.”

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