Non-league: No Hammers raid on Priory claims Kemp

Bournemouth Echo: FORMER PRIORY BOSS: Graham Kemp FORMER PRIORY BOSS: Graham Kemp

HAMWORTHY United boss Graham Kemp this week moved to quash speculation that he plans to strip former club Christchurch of their best players.

Kemp, Priory’s most successful manager before leaving for a brief spell with Winchester City, replaced Simon Browne at the County Ground last month.

Ex-Hurn Bridge favourites Karl Yelland, Ben Osborne and Russell Cook, who had followed Kemp to Winchester over the summer, have since signed for Hammers along with Christchurch prospect Billy Walker.

Kemp also admitted his interest in left-back Jordan Cole, dual-registered with Christchurch and Wimborne Town, before a potential swap deal with Hamworthy’s Tom Biles was rejected by Priory.

But while United’s recently installed boss was adamant old ties would not stop him swooping for players, he insisted there was “no ulterior motive” to decimate his former club.

Kemp, who was keen to stress his belief the suggestions had not emanated from Priory, told the Daily Echo: “A few people think I am ready to raid Christchurch for all their players and it’s just not true.

“Many of the rumours start via Twitter and other social media sites. I’m not on there personally but I know a lot of players from different clubs communicate on there.

“All it seems to take is for one or two lads from other clubs to ask what it’s like over at Hamworthy and people immediately think I am approaching players which is not the case.

“I wouldn’t know some of these lads if they walked up to me in the street and slapped me in the face.

“We’re always looking to improve the squad and I’m no different to any other manager in that respect. If that means going for a Christchurch player then so be it but there’s no ulterior motive to take all their best players.

“It’s frustrating because you are lucky if you build a handful of true friendships in football and I did that at Christchurch. I don’t want anything to jeopardise that.

“I also find it disrespectful to Hamworthy United because it takes away a lot of the credit we deserve for our performances over the past week or so.”

Meanwhile, Kemp clarified the situation over Cole’s protracted move, adding: “Jordan Cole approached us and I thought we had done a deal but it didn’t happen and Tom Biles has since decided to stay at Hamworthy.

“From what I understand he (Cole) has told Christchurch he doesn’t want to play for them so something may still happen when we are allowed to make an approach.”

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