Waldren and O’Connor arrive at Eden Park Avenue

The club would like to extend a warm welcome to TWO NEW SIGNINGS joining the club for the 2020/21 Combined Counties Football League Premier Division South campaign. First up…

DM – DANNY WALDREN

Becks declared their intent to make an assault on the Combined Counties Premier Division South title by recruiting former Bromley, Dulwich Hamlet, Welling United and Billericay Town fan favourite Danny Waldren.

The versatile 32 year-old left-footer is a strong addition to manager Jason Huntely’s squad and arrives with a wealth of experience from having played for a number of seasons higher up the pyramid.

A combative defensive midfielder who can also operate in the centre of defence if required, Danny started his career just down the road with the now defunct Croydon Athletic (since revived as AFC Croydon Athletic). He spent six years with them after joining aged just 16 and progressing through the Academy and Reserve sides. He was the club’s longest serving player before leaving when the scandal that ultimately sank the club involving disgraced owner Mazhar Majeed unfolded.

‘Waldo’ took his talents to Mark Goldberg’s Bromley in July 2011 and became a popular player in four very memorable seasons at Hayes Lane. He made 188 appearances for the Ravens and was respected by both team-mates and supporters for his commitment and loyalty to the club. He played a key role, lifting the London Senior Cup as captain in 2013 and scoring the Lilywhites’ only goal during the ultimately unsuccessful play-off run in 2014 before crowning it all in his final year as the club won the 2014/15 Conference South title gaining promotion to the National League.

On his departure boss Mark Goldberg thanked Danny “…on behalf of everyone at Bromley, for being a leading example to all footballers at our level, of how to conduct yourself both on and off the pitch and for being the spine of my team for so many years.”

It was a major coup for – former Becks manager – Gavin Rose when he then signed Waldren for Ryman Premier Division side Dulwich Hamlet in the summer of 2015. Danny used his experience to lead Dulwich for a season before joining National South side Welling United for the 2016/17 season.

After a successful season with The Wings, Danny then moved to Billericay Town in May 2017 and his strong work ethic saw him gain the captaincy during the course of the following season – proudly lifting the Velocity Cup as skipper and becoming a mainstay of the Billericay team which won the Premier Division under multi-millionaire owner Glenn Tamplin in 2018. After two incredible seasons, he left the Essex club to be re-united with his former Bromley boss Goldberg for the 2019/20 season – this time back at Welling United.

In 2020 he moved to Romford to link up with former Billericay boss Tamplin who said: ‘He’s a hard worker, he’ll keep battling away and keep going to grind out results and that is the sort of professional standard we need in this team right now.’ Unfortunately, he picked up a nasty injury in a friendly against Ilford and had featured little before returning to score the winner in what was to be Romford’s final match of the 2019-20 season – a 1-0 victory over promotion-chasing Tilbury. With non-league football struggling to cope with the impact of the pandemic, by the start of the short lived 2020/21 season Danny had moved to Step 4 East Grinstead Town.

In looking to bolster his squad Becks boss Huntley was quick to swoop for Waldren who he sees as a real asset in the heart of midfield. Impressive thus far in pre-season, the veteran provides experience, leadership, consistency and hard work as well as offering a goalscoring threat from midfield with his shooting from distance and also his aerial threat at set-pieces. A player who leads by example, wears his heart on his sleeve and demands the same standards of the players around him as he does of himself, ‘Waldo’ is surely set to become a firm fan favourite at Eden Park Avenue as the 2021/22 campaign unfolds.

And also…

AM – TOM O’CONNOR

A fluid, graceful, creative midfielder in his mid-20’s, Tom has previously played at Bromley, Thamesmead Town and Ashford United – in fact, he started on the bench when the Nuts & Bolts knocked Becks out of the FA Cup 1-0 at Eden Park Avenue back in 2019.

Having left Bromley in order to get more game time Tom joined Ashford United in June 2019, linking up with former boss Tommy Warrilow, after playing under him for more than two years at previous side Thamesmead Town. “I’ve never really been much of a goalscorer, I’ve normally been creating…” said O’Connor at the time having assisted around 25 goals in about 35 games in his best season with Thamesmead. “It’s always been a big part of my game, but I’d also love to get double digits in terms of goals…”

An inventive attacking midfielder, he has had his struggles with meniscus knee problems in the past that have kept him on the sidelines for lengthy spells. But he has certainly hit the ground running since joining Becks and looks fit, strong and healthy, scoring the opener in the 3-1 pre-season win against Bridon Ropes (Saturday July 3rd) with a clever, improvised finish from inside the area. The youngster with the distinctive locks looks to be a useful addition to boss Jason Huntley’s options and should hopefully provide both goals and assists from an advanced midfield role.

We’d like to welcome both players to the club for what we hope will be a hugely successful 2021/22 season and encourage all Becks fans to make them both feel welcome at the club and to give them your full support throughout the season.

WORDS: BTFC Media Team
ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHS: @SniperPose