Leiston win the race to sign hot-shot striker Ollie Mann
LEISTON have won the race to sign hot-shot striker Ollie Mann
The prolific 22-year-old is joining the Ryman League Premier Division newcomers for the next two years.
Mann has become one of the most prolific strikers at non-league level in East Anglia, scoring 36 goals for Brantham Athletic as they won promotion to the Ridgeons League Premier Division in 2009/10.
He followed that up with 41 goals the following season and still bagged 26 this season despite missing several weeks following a knee operation.
His goalscoring feats attracted the attentions of not only the likes of Braintree Town, Bury Town, Chelmsford City and Lowestoft Town, but also Football League clubs.
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A week-long trial with Colchester United last September was cut short after just half-an-hour after he suffered a knee injury.
Mann said: “It is a great opportunity for me to progress my game. I have had a great time at Brantham, but I felt I needed a new challenge.
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“Leiston ticked all the boxes, so after a lot of consideration I decided to go for it.
“When I heard Steve Foley was joining the club as first-team coach it was a massive incentive for me. He is a well-respected guy and I have been coached by Steve in the past at Brantham.
“The chance to work with someone like him was a huge draw for me.”
Mann said he had not given up hope of playing professional football in the future.
“I think, to be honest, it may have passed me by, but I am not giving up on it because I want to play at the highest level possible.”
Leiston boss Mark Morsley said: “I believe he has more potential than any young player in East Anglia. Everyone has been looking at him and saying he has been prolific in the Ridgeons League Premier Division, but how far can he go and can he become a professional footballer?
“I think he is joining a club on the up, whose professionalism and coaching will be enhanced by the addition of Steve Foley.
“He has massive potential because he is a goalscorer whose attributes will fit in well with the way we play, and I am really excited for both him and the football club.
“I have been tracking him for more than a year and tried to get him last summer, but he still had a year to run on his contract and I respected the fact that Brantham wanted to keep him.
“With Brantham’s permission I first spoke to him two months ago, and I know he has also spoken to other clubs.
“He is an exciting signing for us and will bolster what is already a decent squad.”