Leiston’s 40-goal striker Matt Blake turns down big-money Billericay Town move

Leiston's Matt Blake has turned down a move to big-spending Billericay Town.

Leiston's Matt Blake has turned down a move to big-spending Billericay Town. - Credit: Archant

Leiston hitman Matt Blake has followed his heart and not his pocket, after turning down a big-money move to Ryman Premier Division rivals, Billericay Town.

The 28-year-old scored his 40th goal of the season in Tuesday’s 2-1 home win over Folkestone Invicta, as the Blues strengthened their play-off charge.

The Essex club, who recently signed ex-England international, Paul Konchesky, persuaded Blake’s former Leiston team-mate, Byron Lawrence, to move to New Lodge last week.

It is understood Billericay, who failed to meet Leiston’s valuation, offered Blake a substantial hike in wages to join their revolution, but the goal-getter took the tough decision to reject the move, in favour of re-assessing his options in the summer.

“Billericay are a massive club and at the end of the day, they are probably going to be the biggest club in non-league football,” said Blake, whose current club will not stand in his way should a move suit all parties.

“I just feel I should wait until the summer. I don’t want to do a deal now and potentially mess something up and miss the chance to play in the National League or even the Football League.

“I can’t run the risk of signing something now when potentially something could happen over the summer.

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“It is tough, it was a very hard decision for me and it could backfire, but for me it’s about my heart and desire to play higher.

“I am in a win-win situation as I am at a club that I love. I will look at the situation at the end of the season when hopefully we will have won promotion.”

Blake’s decision to stay in Suffolk and turn down bigger money is an admirable one, given the potential injury risks that are commonplace in the game.

“I am 28 and I have a four-year-old and a sixth-month old,” added Blake.

“The money was on the table and it had to be looked at. I have gone with my heart over my pocket at the end of the day.”

Asked if he was confident in his ability to play at a much-higher level, Blake revealed: “Football is all about opinions and all I can say is that professionals who have been there and done it, have told me I can do it (in the Football League).

“I know Football League clubs have been monitoring me and it’s whether or not someone wants to take a risk.

“I know I want it.”

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