Star duo poised for U’s return

Sean Ray will return to Hastings United next season. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
Sean Ray will return to Hastings United next season. Picture by Terry S. Blackman

Two fans’ favourites are set to return to Hastings United Football Club next season.

Ade Olorunda and Sean Ray have confirmed they will be back to boost United’s bid for promotion from Ryman Football League Division One South.

United manager Terry White said: “We’re going to go for it next year. The chairman (Dave Walters) has given me a nice budget to work with and I’m going to get the best players I can obviously.”

Olorunda, a quick and strong striker, and powerful defender Ray were both part of the last United side to win promotion back in 2007, with the former scoring in the play-off final victory over Tooting & Mitcham United.

The 31-year-old Olorunda revealed that he was set to hang up his boots until a chance meeting with Walters prompted him to resume his football career at The Pilot Field next term.

He said: “As far as football’s concerned, until I bumped into Dave, I had given up. I won the leagues or been promoted out of all the leagues I’ve been good enough to play in, and I’ve been through a lot with my dad passing away and I’ve got an 18-week-old son.

“I was in the garden digging a hole and Mr Walters was walking his dog. I looked up, he looked up, and he came over and shook my hand. We had a good conversation and settled a few old issues.”

Ray, 33, was player-manager of the United side which reached the FA Cup third round in 2012/13 before being relegated at the end of the same season.

He stepped down three days before the start of last term, and ended up playing for Kingstonian, Peacehaven & Telscombe and Eastbourne United AFC.

He said: “Terry really convinced me to come back. I spoke to Terry before I went to Peacehaven, but I just thought it probably wasn’t the right time. Now it’s a fresh season, fresh start. I had a chat with Terry last week and I think it’s something we both wanted.

“I’m not coming back because it’s on the doorstep. The reason I went to Kingstonian and Peacehaven was I wanted to win something and get promoted. I’m coming back to win the league next season.”

See today’s Hastings Observer for the full article.