Manager Brady Stone is well aware his Ely City side will not do much better business this summer than retaining the services of Alex Theobald, writes Liam Apicella.
The striker played a key role in The Robins’ memorable 2016/17 campaign — one that saw them comfortably secure Thurlow Nunn League top flight safety, embark on a club-record FA Vase run and reach the final of the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup.
Theobald found the back of the net on 20 occasions in all competitions, having bagged himself a further 22 the season before.
And he showed no signs of letting up during Ely’s first pre-season friendly on Saturday at Huntingdon Town, helping himself to a brace in a 4-0 victory.
That outing came on the back of Theobald agreeing to remain at The Unwin Ground for the upcoming season — news that delighted his boss.
“We are really happy as a club that Alex has decided to stay with us,” said Stone.
“We wanted him to stay — he knew that. I am sure he had offers from elsewhere, but he is happy here.
“Alex is a loyal lad and he is settled here. All of that means he is enjoying his football.
“He knows that if he ever wants to go higher, we will do everything we can to help him.
“But for now, he is with us and to have a player we know is capable of scoring at least 20 goals is a massive boost.”
In contrast to Theobald, winger Kelvin Enaro has opted to move on.
It was expected that the Nigerian would try his luck higher up the non-league pyramid, only for him to turn out for Ely’s league rivals Haverhill Rovers in their opening two friendlies.
“Kelvin had a lot of offers from higher up last year and we always thought he might pursue that this summer,” added the Ely manager.
“I would have accepted that, so to see him playing for Haverhill is a bit of a kick in the teeth.
“Normally our door is always open, but if he were to come back, he would have to work very hard to get back in.
“Kelvin is a nice lad, though, and we wish him well.”
n On Tuesday, Ely ran out 6-4 winners at Linton Granta.
Nick Heap helped himself to a brace, while Jonathon Brown, Ryan Williams, Lewis hook and Tom Thurlbourn also found the target for Stone’s men.
n On Saturday, Ely continue their pre-season programme at Wisbech Town (3pm), before travelling to West Wratting on Tuesday (7.15pm).