FA Vase star Tom Price returns to US Portsmouth – with boss Tom Grice confessing: I did all I could NOT to re-sign him!
Boss Tom Grice has revealed he initially had no intention of bringing one of US Portsmouth’s FA Vase heroes back to the club.
Goalkeeper Tom Price has returned to the Victory Stadium after being one of numerous players to follow ex-boss Glenn Turnbull to Moneyfields last summer.
Price had started 14 of Moneys’ first 15 Wessex League games this season, but lost his place last month after a 5-5 League Cup draw at Shaftesbury. Since then, Callum McGeorge has played in Moneys’ last four league games.
Grice said he knew Price wanted to leave Dover Road early last week, but was not planning a move due to the form of young Dylan Kramer.
That changed, though, when Kramer suffered a hamstring injury during last Tuesday’s Wessex loss at table-topping Horndean.
Grice tried to bring in a keeper for Saturday’s league game with Alresford, but moves for Hawks’ Charlie Searle and Gosport’s Ellis Grant failed.
In desperation, he put a message in a Wessex managers WhatsApp group chat on Friday - and Moneys boss Glenn Turnbull offered to waive the seven days notice if he wanted to sign Price.
‘It was totally my intention not to sign Pricey at all,’ Grice told The News.
‘I did speak to Tom, as he’s a friend of mine, and I said ‘Dylan’s my No 1, he’s been one of our best players this season.’
‘After Dylan got injured, I spent Wednesday and Thursday trying to find a keeper. I did everything I could NOT to sign Pricey!
‘On the Friday Glenn phoned me up and offered Pricey. I think Tom’s glad to be back. Of all the players we lost last summer, Pricey was for me the biggest blow. He was probably the best out of all of them.
‘He will be an asset to us on and off the pitch. We’re a young team and he’s got experience of playing at a higher level.
‘It will be good to see him working with Dylan in training.’
Price was one of 17 players signed on Wessex forms for Moneyfields who were at US Portsmouth last season.
Grice added: ‘I’ve always been very accommodating to Moneyfields and waived seven days for players.’
Turnbull said: ‘I didn’t want to lose Pricey but morally it was the right thing to do (offering him to US). I don’t know if it’s the best thing for Moneyfields but helping Gricey out was the right thing to do.
‘Pricey didn’t necessarily want to wait (to get his first team place back).
‘Callum has done well - he was the player of the month for December so that shows you he’s doing okay.
‘Callum was the long-term plan - there were doubts about Pricey’s longevity - and it’s just a case of it fast forwarding a bit more than we’d been expecting.’
Price will be USP’ seventh goalkeeper when he makes his second debut for the club in next Saturday’s home league game with Amesbury. Kramer has made 15 league appearances so far, while Damien Kelsall, Lewis Broughton, James Hedley, Roux Hardcastle and Owen Craig have also featured.
US reserves host Hayling on the 3G at HMS Temeraire next Thursday in the Portsmouth Senior Cup, but Price is cup tied even if they wanted to register him to get some match practice.
He will be the 41st player used by US in a first team game - more than any of the other five Portsmouth area Wessex Premier clubs.
Last season Price was one of the stars of US’ run to the Vase semis and Wessex League Cup final. He scored a spot-kick in each of the club’s three penalty shoot-outs – against Christchurch and Binfield in the Vase and Bemerton in the WLC – and also saved one as well.
On his last Moneyfields outing, he was also involved in a shoot-out – but this time missed his penalty in the loss at Shaftesbury.