EXPERIENCED defender Duane Courtney wants to make “a leader” out of every Bromsgrove Sporting player after agreeing to join the Rouslers from Redditch United.
The 32-year-old agreed terms to move to the Victoria Ground from the Southern Premier League outfit on Monday and becomes Paul Smith’s fifth summer signing.
Primarily a right-back, the former Reds captain can also operate anywhere across the back as well as a central midfielder.
Despite having another contract offer from United boss Darren Byfield on the table, Courtney turned it down as well as declining moves to Northern Premier League sides Hednesford Town and Sutton Coldfield Town.
In the end, it was the attraction of a club which is “going places” which resulted in the former Derby County and Birmingham City youth player joining last season’s Midland League Division One ‘Invincible’ champions.
“For me, it’s always about enjoying my football,” Courtney told the Standard.
“I know I can play at a higher level but after seeing what Paul achieved last season I want to come and help Bromsgrove find their feet at Step 5.
“This club is going places and I want to be a part of it.
“Even though I am 32 I am still fit and have a lot to offer both on and off the field.
“This is not about the money because teams higher in the pyramid wanted me.
“I know what this club wants to achieve and I believe I can help them do that.”
After seeing Sporting end their league campaign without losing a game as well as going on a remarkable FA Vase run where they reached the semi-finals, Courtney hopes to bring further success.
Despite believing the Rouslers have what it takes to claim back-to-back promotions, the former Player of the Season for AFC Telford United in 2005 says Sporting must find their feet before aiming higher.
“I can’t see any reason as to why this club cannot secure another promotion,” he said.
“But realistically it’s all about trying to settle down in the league and then kicking on from there.
“Even though I was not part of Bromsgrove’s success last season, I always want to achieve better than the previous year and push myself as well as those around me.
“Paul wants to do that too and if we can go on another good FA Vase run it brings in revenue and more importantly it gets the club noticed.”
Courtney also plans to use his vast non-League experience to improve every player at Sporting.
The former Kidderminster Harriers and Tamworth man also believes consistency on the field will be key to pushing for honours.
“I just want to bring some resilience and a voice to the club,” he added.
“Whether I am made captain or not, I can still be a leader and help players be leaders.
“I want players to realise they don’t need an armband to become leaders on the pitch.
“If we are resilient, organised and consistent and pull out good performances then the results will follow.
“I’m not saying we won’t lose games but consistency is a big part of both non-League and League football.”
With former Redditch United players Ahmed Ali, Liam Spink, Reece Hewitt, Jason Cowley, Robbie Bunn and Jordan Jones among the Sporting ranks, Courtney is looking forward to playing with his old team-mates once again.
“I have already spoken to those lads and to see them again is going to be great,” he said.
“They know me very well and they are buzzing to hear I have agreed to join and I can’t wait to get started now.”
Sporting boss Smith, who has already agreed terms to bring in Jones, goalkeeper Reece Francis and midfielder Joe Ward, wanted to bring Courtney in to add some experience to his relatively young squad.
“Experience was something which we needed to take this squad to the next level,” he added
“Duane is a versatile player and there were plenty of sides interested in signing him.
“I’m over the moon to have agreed terms with him and I can’t wait to get working with him.”
DUANE’S CAREER SO FAR:
1999-2001 – Derby County (youth)
2001-2004 – Birmingham City (youth)
2004-2005 – AFC Telford United
2005-2006 – Burnley
2006-2009 – The New Saints
2009-2010 – Kidderminster Harriers
2010-2011 – York City
2011-2014 – Tamworth
2014-2015 – Alfreton Town
2015-2016 – Corby Town
2016-2017 – Redditch United
PAUL SMITH’S SIGNINGS:
Jordan Jones (Redditch United)
Joshua Quaynor (Coleshill Town)
Joe Ward (Free Agent)
Reece Francis (Cadbury Athletic)