Cray Wanderers 2023-24 Squad Update – 26/5/23
Cray Wanderers are delighted to announce the signings of three new players for the 2023-24 season and two players to date retained for the forthcoming season.
Jack Holland Defender
Cray Wanderers confirm the first new signing for the 2023-24 season with Jack Holland joining the Wands from Dulwich Hamlet where he spent two seasons in the National South.
Jack is an experienced central defender who came through the Bromley Youth system but joined Crystal Palace where he spent four years as part of their U18s and U21 setups. At Palace he spent a couple of loan spells at Eastbourne Borough and Farnborough. Jack returned to Hayes Lane for the 2013-14 season and gave great service to Bromley where he stayed until 2021 making 374 appearances, many under the management of Neil Smith. Jack was part of Bromley’s National South title winning campaign in 2014-15 and in the 2017-18 FA Trophy Final at Wembley. Jack signed for Dulwich Hamlet for the 2021-22 season and spent two seasons at Champion Hill making 70 appearances before joining the Wands in May 2023.
Jack has also been capped by England at C International level earning three caps.
We welcome Jack to Cray Wanderers and hope he enjoys his time with the club.
Frankie Raymond – Midfield
Cray Wanderers are delighted to announce the signing of Frankie Raymond to the club for the 2023-24 season. Midfielder Frankie joins the Wands from Dulwich Hamlet where he made 41 appearances in the National South last season.
Frankie adds considerable experience to the midfield and began his career in the Reading Academy spending loan spells at Horsham, Basingstoke Town, Eastleigh and Hungerford Town before joining Gillingham’s Development side in 2012. In 2014 he moved on to Eastbourne Borough making 70 appearances over two seasons in the National South. From there he moved into the Football League and the National League with Dagenham & Redbridge for three seasons making 56 appearances. He stayed in the National League in 2017 when he signed for Bromley for whom he made 171 appearances in four seasons including reaching the FA Trophy Final in his first season and reached the National League playoffs in 2020-21.
The following season he signed for Boreham Wood and was part of the side which reached the 5th Round of the FA Cup making 42 appearances before joining Dulwich Hamlet at the start of last season.
We welcome Frankie to Cray Wanderers and we hope he enjoys his time with the club.
Retained Player – Yahya Bamba
Cray Wanderers can confirm that Yahya Bamba has been retained for the 2023-24 season.
Yahya came to Cray in November 2022 from Sevenoaks Town making his debut against Leyton Orient in the London Senior Cup. He went on to make 30 appearances last season scoring 4 goals and helped Cray to a 5th placed finish and a playoff place.
Previously with Phoenix Sports, Yahya can play on either wing and made a huge impact when signing for Sevenoaks Town in March 2022 and scored 10 goals in 9 games to help Sevenoaks steer clear of relegation from the Isthmian South-East. He made 17 appearances in league and cups scoring 3 goals before joining Cray.
Yahya made a positive impact last season and the Wands are delighted he remains with the club.
Retained Player – Shaun Rowley
Meanwhile Cray Wanderers are delighted that Shaun Rowley has been retained for the 2023-24 season. Shaun had a fantastic first season with the Wands missing just one Isthmian Premier League game and his performances in goal earned him the Supporters Player of the Year for 2022-23. Shaun kept fifteen clean sheets last season as the Wands finished in 5th place in the league and reached the playoffs for the first time.
Shaun came through the youth system at Shrewsbury Town turning professional in 2005. Whilst with the Shrews he went out on loan to Halesowen, Chorley and Tamworth then signing for Halifax Town in 2018. From here Shaun went on to Solihull Moors and Kettering Town before joining Matlock in September 2020 spending the latter part of the 2021-22 season with Carlton Town.
We are delighted that Shaun is staying with us next season and we are sure it will be another incredible season.
Sam Wood – Midfield/Defender – Retained
Cray Wanderers are delighted to announce that Sam Wood has been retained for the 2023-24 season. Versatile and hugely experienced midfield play maker/left back Sam will incorporate a new role as part of the coaching staff for the forthcoming season.
Cray Wanderers club legend Sam Wood re-joined the club almost seventeen years after his last appearances in January 2022 from Dover Athletic. Sam made an instant positive impact to the side making 13 appearances and scoring 3 goals and signed again for the 2022-23 season and played at left back as well as midfield making 41 appearances and scored 6 goals including in the Isthmian Premier playoff semi-final at Hornchurch.
Sidcup born Sam started out with the Long Lane youth system but came through the ranks at Cray Wanderers emerging from the very successful reserve side and made his Wands first team debut in 2003. Sam was a key part of the side which won the Kent League titles in 2003-04 and also won the Kent Senior Trophy and helped Cray to the last 8 of the FA Vase. The Wands reached the playoffs in their first season in the Isthmian League Division One in 2004-05 and scored the goal of the season in the 2-0 win against AFC Wimbledon at Hayes Lane in December 2004. At the end of the season Sam moved on to Cray Wanderers landlords Bromley after 94 appearances and 8 goals and helped them to promotion from the Isthmian Premier in 2006-07.
Sam’s performances attracted the interest of Brentford in the Football League and in 2008 joined the Bees and helped them to promotion from League 2 in 2008-09 making 126 appearances. In 2011-12 he spent a year on loan at Rotherham United and then in 2012 joined Wycombe Wanderers spending 5 seasons with the Buckinghamshire club making 213 appearances.
Sam was released in 2017 and returned to non-league football with Eastleigh in 2017-18 and then back to Bromley up to 2020 and then on to Dover Athletic in the National League. Sam’s career turned full circle when he re-signed for Cray Wanderers in February 2022