Espinoza departs as Needham re-think after poor run

VENEZUELAN striker Jose Espinoza left Needham Market yesterday as the club bid to get their season back on course.

Espinoza scored eight times in just 18 appearances for the Ryman League Division One North side, who have been knocked off top spot after four defeats in their last five league matches.

Needham Market manager Danny Laws said: “Jose was a non-contract player who is surplus to requirements at the present time.

“He has done well for us and we wish him well, but we are having a re-think after a series of recent poor results. It is easier for us to change players who are not under contract.”

Espinoza, who has also played in America and Europe, was clearly disappointed to leave a club he believes has the best structure he has come across at non-league level.

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The 24-year-old, who moved to England when he was a youngster, was on trial at Watford as a 17-year-old, before signing for Wycombe Wanderers on a one-year apprenticeship.

Tony Adams was the manager of Wycombe at the time, although Espinoza said he had hardly any contact with the former England and Arsenal captain during his time at Adams Park.

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Espinoza then played professionally in America and was on trial at Royal Racing Club in Belgium, but it was while he was at Ryman League Division One North Potters Bar Town last season that he came to Needham Market’s attention.

After impressing against the Marketmen both home and away, Laws tried to sign him in the second half of the campaign but to no avail.

Espinoza knocked back the approach and stayed at Potters Bar Town, before joining Brentwood Town, who beat Needham in last season’s play-off semi-final before losing in the final, in the summer.

“Several clubs came in for me, but I chose to go to Brentwood, which was the closest to me. But it didn’t work out for me. We had a squad of around 25 players with lots of egos. I wasn’t enjoying it and couldn’t see it improving.

“I contacted Needham to see if they were still interested and it all happened in the space of two weeks.”

The arrival of Espinoza, together with Angelo Harrop, coincided with Needham going on an eight-match winning streak to propel them to the top of the table. However, Needham’s form has dipped recently following an injury to leading scorer Sam Newson.

Espinoza said of his spell at Needham: “It has been great – I just regret not joining last season. The whole structure of the club from top to bottom – the chairman, the manager and coaching staff, the physio, players and facilities – is good.

“Of the non-league clubs I have been involved with this is the best.”

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