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New player-coach relishing challenge


by Andrew Gidley


JOHN KEISTER is looking forward to the extra responsibilities his new role as player-coach at Margate brings with it.

The 34-year-old former Sierra Leone international midfielder turned sweeper is as enthusiastic as ever, following an emotional afternoon last season when the club were relegated for a second successive season.

Keister was in tears, and the last one off the pitch, after the 2-0 defeat at Havant last April saw the Thanet club lose their Conference status.

Many fans felt that he might not return, but after a coaching stint and a holiday in the United States the former Sierra Leone international is looking forward to the new season.

He said: "I think Chris Kinnear has looked at my experience, and hopes that rubs it off on the younger players in the side.

"Things happened at the club that were not football-related, and that is what hurt.

"We were in the Dr Martens League, then the Conference, and now the Ryman League. We have just got to look forward and not back."

Kinnear said: "I think John must be one of the most experienced players in non league football. He has played in the African Nations Cup and world cup qualifiers for his country.

He has got a lot to offer on the coaching side, and is still a quality player, probably our best on the pitch at Tonbridge the other night.

"I think it will calm him down a bit," he added, a reference to the number of times Keister was booked last season.

"The supporters love him, and I always knew he would come back. He’s happy and so are we."

Keister made well over 100 appearances in a league career that included spells with Shrewsbury, Chester and Walsall, and moved to Hartsdown Park in March 2001.

He said: "I will be 35 in November, and have been very fortunate to have earned a living out of something I love doing. I am still very focused and want to do well."


*I thought we lost 3-1 at Havant?

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