FOOTBALL: Spalding’s Stevens swoop fails

Tulips target: Jamie Stevens was wanted by Pat Rayment (below).
Tulips target: Jamie Stevens was wanted by Pat Rayment (below).

AMBITIOUS Spalding United boss Pat Rayment has failed in a bid to land Holbeach United skipper Jamie Stevens.

The Tulips slapped in a seven-day notice of approach for the talented defender on Monday, only to discover the ex-Crawley Town ace was on a two-year contract until 2013.

Pat Rayment

Pat Rayment

Tigers supremo John Chand has confirmed that any club wanting to sign Stevens would have to agree a ‘substantial fee’ before talking to him – and told the Spalding Guardian that any bids from UCL Premier Division sides would be rejected out of hand.

They won’t have to go through that process with Spalding though, with Rayment adamant that he’d never consider forking out for a UCL player.

Instead, the ex-Peterborough United professional is hoping to bring Stamford defender Miles Chamberlain to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

An official approach went in for him on Monday, with Rayment able to speak to a player he knows well next week.

“Stevens is the kind of player that I’d want at this club,” admitted Rayment. “But if he’s on a contract, it’s a no-brainer for me – I won’t be paying fees for any UCL player.

“As for Miles, we worked together at Stamford and he’s another who I’d be keen to bring here.

“He’s not been getting in the team and they’re doing well, so you wonder if he’s part of the manager’s plans.

“I’m aware he may have another offer, but we will dangle the carrot of our project for next season and see what he thinks.”

Across South Holland at Carter’s Park, Chand is keen to express how important Stevens is to Holbeach.

The club captain has been one of the driving forces behind the Tigers’ best season since winning the Premier Division back in 2003.

Chand said: “Jamie is a massive asset to this football club. Why would we want to sell him to another UCL club when he’s proven at Conference level? He’s the best defender in the league in my opinion.

“He’s under contract, but obviously if a club a couple of levels up comes in for him, we’d not stand in his way.

“My personal view is that Spalding, or any other UCL team, can’t have him at any price.”

Stevens should be in the Holbeach line-up for Saturday’s home tie with Sleaford Town (3pm). The game could be James Wilson’s last for the Tigers, with his two-month loan from Lincoln City set to expire.

Chand is “hopeful” that he can extend it to the end of the season, though.

Spalding visit Stewarts and Lloyds Corby on Saturday (also 3pm), with last weekend’s match-winner Tom James suspended.

Left back Callum Earls is, however, fit to return, while Rayment is eager to give Ryan O’Loughlin some game time.

Follow @LFPSport on Twitter for updates from both games.