Horndean boss Birmingham giving new faces a chance to shine ahead of debut Isthmian League campaign
The Deans are preparing for their first-ever taste of step 4 football after winning the 2022/23 Wessex League title.
Jeffes has rejoined his former US Portsmouth boss Glenn Turnbull at Moneyfields, while Dempsey has moved to Wessex Premier newcomers Andover New Steet.
Anderson has signed for Bognor Regis and was back at Five Heads Park at the weekend, as the Rocks won 4-0 in a friendly.
While Jeffes and Dempsey only made 27 Wessex starts between them last season, no Deans player made more than Anderson (36).
‘I was disappointed to lose Ben,’ said Birmingham. ‘I think he’s gone 12 months too early, but I understand why he’s left.
‘We’ve had him since he was 15 and he’s been an absolute joy and pleasure to work with. Other players should take a look at how he conducts himself.’
Horndean’s Twitter page has so far revealed five new faces - Harrison Cable, Dan Sibley, Jack Breed, Dan Aitken and Cade Dyer.
Striker Cable has step 4 experience at Lymington, while Sibley (US Portsmouth), Breed (Fareham Town), Aitken (Baffins) and Dyer (AFC Stoneham) were all playing alongside Horndean in the Wessex top flight last term.
Birmingham said: ‘Some we’ve signed, some we’re taking a look at. We’re taking a look at them and they’re taking a look at us.’
Horndean’s stats last season were among the best in the whole of the English non-league pyramid. Ending with 98 points, they plundered 126 goals in 28 Premier games and conceded just 21.
Birmingham, though, was never expecting to lose many of his title winners to higher tier clubs this summer.
‘Not really, no,’ he stated. ‘A lot of higher division clubs are not interested in giving youngsters a chance.
‘Big budget clubs will look for players with big CVs - some clubs are only interested in CVs.’
While he has lost two central defenders in Jeffes and Dempsey, Birmingham is on the verge of welcoming back another one.
Former Pompey Academy hopeful Eddie Wakely’s debut season at Deans was ended last September when he suffered a bad ankle injury which required surgery.
He was the victim of a late tackle - a ‘disgusting’ challenge, according to Birmingham - that resulted in Blackfield’s Harry Edmondson being shown a straight red card.
Wakely was due to feature in the Deans’ opening friendly at Fleetlands last midweek, but due to the hard pitch it was decided not to risk him.
With their maiden Isthmian Division 1 South East season due to start on August 12, the Deans’ first game of the new season is the previous weekend.
That’s a home FA Cup extra preliminary round tie against Portland United - coincidentally the opposition for Horndean’s final Wessex game of 2022/23 when a late Zack Willett goal sparked wild celebrations.
Even if the Portland game had finished 0-0, the Deans would have been crowned champions on goal difference - but as it was Willett’s 46th league goal in 35 games saw them finish two points ahead of Bemerton.