Speed of Simpemba switch is disappointing for Gale

Ian Simpemba, right, has joined Ebbsfleet
Ian Simpemba, right, has joined Ebbsfleet
Theo Lewis scored for the Hawks in the 38th minute at Wealdstone. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Hawks boss Shaun Gale admits he is disappointed by the speed in which former skipper Ian Simpemba completed his switch to Ebbsfleet United.

Simpemba quit the Hawks last week after landing a job as a golf manager in east Kent.

It was mutually agreed that he would be unable to travel down to West Leigh Park on a regular basis and the club released him from his contract.

As part of his release, the experienced defender agreed not to play for another Blue Square South side for a year.

And Gale, at the time, felt he was unlikely to join Blue Square Premier side Ebbsfleet because of his job commitments.

‘I am a little surprised but you can’t put the kid in a headlock and force him to play with us,’ said Gale.

‘He has been a great servant to the football club but I am a bit disappointed with it.

‘To be honest, I have had my suspicions that maybe he was approached beforehand.

‘But having said that, his job situation hasn’t changed – he is still moving to East Kent.

‘It will be disappointing if it was a done deal before we released him.

‘But that’s football and you can’t blame Liam Daish for taking a good player into his squad.

‘They have plenty of money at their disposal and I am sure they can afford to have him alongside their other defenders.

‘I am surprised that he is going to the Blue Square Premier with the extra travelling involved, what with him starting a new job.’

But Gale is adamant Hawks made the right decision to allow the player to move on.

He said: ‘As a football club, I like to think that we have done right by the player and done things the right way.

‘He is a family man and we understand his situation.

‘We feel we can look ourselves in the mirror, though some people have suggested we could have got a fee for him.

‘If we had held out it would only have made the situation difficult and we could have had a nightmare scenario of the player struggling to get here for training and games.

‘We feel Ian Simpemba has left the club in the right manner and we did the right thing.’

Gale wanted to avoid a contracted wrangle over the defender.

He experienced that situation when Tom Jordan left to join local rivals Eastleigh and he didn’t want a repeat.

The manager is also unhappy with people behind the scenes stirring up trouble on the club message boards.

‘There seems to be a culture of people leaving football clubs and not being able to do it on good terms,’ said Gale.

‘Ian Simpemba has left on good terms and in the right manner.

‘One or two others, though, who have left the club just want to undermine it and cause trouble.

‘They are no longer at the club because they are not good enough and we don’t want that culture at the club.

‘That isn’t helping anyone and I get sick and tired of it.

‘We have got a good squad of players here and we won’t let their criticism hinder us.’

Meanwhile, Hawks defender Jake Newton has penned a new deal to remain with the club.

The talented full-back lined up for Hawks at West Leigh Park in their 4-0 friendly defeat to Pompey on Monday night.