Long Stratton goal machine James Bemrose rejects interest from higher-league clubs
There were offers aplenty from higher-level clubs, but James Bemrose has committed his future to Long Stratton for the 2020/21 season.
Since making his senior debut for Stratton’s Saturday side during the 2016/17 campaign, the 19-year-old has found the net on 88 occasions – a tally which includes a 37-goal haul in just 26 appearances last term.
Unsurprisingly other teams have started to circle, with the majority of interest coming from those at Step 5.
Bemrose has carefully considered each and every offer over recent weeks, but with plenty of football still ahead of him in the years to come, he has decided to remain with his hometown club.
“It was a tough decision. I’ve achieved a lot over the last two seasons or so and there were some good offers,” he said.
“But I’ve also only been playing men’s football regularly for three seasons. I’ve still got a long way to go before I am anywhere near my peak.
“And ultimately I am happy playing for Stratton. It is not about earning money at a higher level or anything like that.
“I get a lot of respect at Stratton, I love playing for the club. I used to go watch them when I was younger and now I am their number nine.
“I’ve had some mixed messages. Some saying I’ve done the right thing, others saying it’s a waste.
“But only I can make the decision and I feel like I’ve made the right one for myself.
“At this age, I just want to be playing every single week and scoring goals.”
And having agreed to remain with Stratton, the striker has now switched his focus to pushing for the Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Premier Division title.
The Manor Road-based outfit have been regulars in the top five in recent seasons, but Bemrose is confident they are in good shape to mount a challenge for the top prize.
“I’d love to be able to help my hometown club go on to win the league,” he added.
“I feel like we have a real chance this season. We’ve been training really well and there is a real confidence in the squad.
“Other clubs have improved as well so it isn’t going to be easy, but hopefully we can be in the race.”