Willie Clemons keen to make further progress in English game at new club
Willie Clemons is determine to make an impact after making his debut for Braintree Town in the Vanarama National League South division.
The Bermuda midfielder, who was new manager Angelo Harrop’s first signing, came on as a 74th-minute substitute in a 2-1 season-opening defeat away to Dulwich Hamlet.
“Happy to get it sorted finally,” Clemons told The Royal Gazette after agreeing to the terms of an undisclosed deal. “Now I can get my head down and get to work.”
Braintree Town will face Havant & Waterlooville in their home opener on Saturday before following up quickly on Tuesday at home to Hemel Hempstead Town.
“I’ve heard that they’ve got a good ground and get a good amount of fans in, so it’ll be fun,” Clemons added.
“I’m excited to finally get going. I think I’ve got an idea what this level will bring.
“My main goal when I moved to England was to progress as quickly as possible, and this is a club in a league where I can continue to do that.”
Clemons has moved a step up in the English football pyramid, having joined Braintree Town from Stowmarket Town, who play a tier below his new club in the Isthmian League, and reckons it will be a smooth transition playing at that level.
“It’s a few steps higher than Stowmarket, but I don’t see any reason to make any changes to my technique,” he said. “I know what I’m good at, and I’m confident that I can do that at any level I’m at.”
Clemons said his decision to part ways with his former club was not a difficult one to make.
“I wouldn’t say it was a difficult decision, although the club did come to feel like home in my time there,” he added.
“Both I and the club were transparent about my ambitions from the beginning, so there were no surprises at the end. Everyone involved there has been supportive of me in every way.”
The 27-year-old joined Bermuda team-mate Reggie Lambe at Stowmarket last October after having his contract with Swedish side Dalkurd terminated in December 2020, with Lambe playing an integral role in the move.
“Reg has been nothing but supportive,” Clemons said. “He always knew my personal goals from the beginning and has helped me any way he can since I arrived in England.
“I’m sure he’ll miss sharing the pitch with me, as I will as well. But that’s my guy, wished me all the best and we still get together on weekends.”
Clemons impressed the coaching staff during Braintree Town’s preseason training, scoring in the club’s friendly against Maldon and Tiptree.
“My preseason went all right, all things considering,” he added. “I returned to England rather late after international duty due to some knocks I picked up with the national team which kind of set me back fitness-wise when it came time to get into training. But these last few weeks I’ve been able to sharpen it up a bit more.
“I’m feeling good now and my goals this year are to do better than last year.”
Playing an integral role in the player’s move to Braintree Town was new manager Harrop, who guided former club Sudbury to the Emirates FA Cup first round last season.
“Prior to him getting the new job here, we had chatted about a transfer, so it made sense that once he’d been hired here that we’d have some further correspondences,” Clemons explained.
“He’s a good guy. I played against him twice last year for Stow when he was at his previous club, so there’s a bit of familiarity already there.”