New Worthing recruit admits: Some fans may need winning over

Worthing FC recruit Kane Wills admits he may need to win over some fans if they are still bristling over his exit from the club four years ago.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 3:00 pm
Kane Wills back at Woodside Road / Picture: Worthing FC

The midfielder, who has become Adam Hinshelwood s third new signing of the summer, left for Eastbourne Borough after a year at Woodside Road - which left some fans unimpressed.

Now he is back - initially on a season long loan from Dorking, where he has been told he will not be first choice despite playing a key role in a fine National South season last term.

Wills first arrived at Woodside Road in 2016 following the club’s promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division and was made club captain shortly after when Steve Metcalf left to join Horsham.

The club were still in with a shout of finishing in the play-off places two thirds of the way though the season but a wretched run of form saw their chances tail off completely. Their step three status was only preserved by a 1-1 draw with Burgess Hill Town in the penultimate match of the season.

Wills’ dynamic midfield performances caught the eye of everyone at the club, picking up manager’s, players’ and supporters' player of the year awards.

His transfer to Eastbourne Borough in the summer of 2017 upset a few of the club’s supporters but that experience didn’t deter the former Bognor man from returning and he’s determined to win over any with lingering ill feeling.

“It did come into my mind, yeah of course; I had options to go elsewhere where I knew the fans would love me. It was a difficult time for the club, not being able to play any games at home was tough and team hadn’t started the season well. I accept I wasn’t innocent in it and I understand why the fans reacted they way they did.

“Maybe some will need winning over but hopefully that won’t take long because they’ll see I’m here to help the club get where it wants to be."

Wills, 31, told the Worthing website there was only one place he wanted to be once he knew his time was up at Dorking Wanderers. “I probably played more games than anyone last season but the manager said he’s bringing someone else in – it’s disappointing but that’s football," he said.

Despite having offers from other clubs in the National League, Wills said a return to Woodside Road was the stand-out choice: “I had a few options; there were couple to stay at the same level but as soon as I knew coming back here was a possibility, my mind was made up.

“Dropping down a level was a big thing for me to get my head around so I knew if I was going to do it it had to be to the right club and Worthing ticks all the boxes. I know Hinsh and I know he likes to play the right way and off the field the club are ambitious and want to reach the next level."

Having played the previous four seasons as step two of non-league, Wills told the Worthing website that experience could benefit his new club’s push for promotion. “I think naturally I’ll bring experience, having played in the league above for the last few seasons and also of getting promotion from this division.

“I don’t think too much needs to change obviously given the team’s record over the last two seasons but I’ll just be trying to use my experience to get the best out of all the young players we have."

Hinselwood’s side have been in pole position for promotion to the National League in both of the previous two Covid-effected season’s but Wills doesn’t think motivation will be an issue for the team this season:

“It must be hard for the lads knowing the probably deserve to have been promoted already but I think that’s where having so many young players helps, they’re naturally enthusiastic so I’m sure they’ll be raring to go again,” he said.

“A good start is important, however I don’t think there’s any need to panic if you don’t quite get the start you want. It’s a long season with lots of twists and turns along the way and at the end the most consistent team over the whole season gets promoted whether they had a good start, end or bit in the middle."