TULIPS: Joyce is final piece of Pat’s Spalding plan

Wanted man: Jacob Joyce snubbed four Conference sides to join Pat Rayment's Spalding United revolution.Photo by PAUL FRANKS
Wanted man: Jacob Joyce snubbed four Conference sides to join Pat Rayment's Spalding United revolution.Photo by PAUL FRANKS

IN-DEMAND Jacob Joyce turned down four lucrative offers to become the latest high-profile Spalding United signing.

The former Peterborough United youth could have joined Histon, Corby Town, Hinckley United or Bishop’s Stortford – but instead opted to sign a two-year deal with the ambitious Tulips.

He is the fourth striker to agree terms with Pat Rayment’s side this summer, joining Francis Green, Shane Tolley and Ashley Stevens.

Keen to unleash a 4-3-3 system on the UCL Premier Division next season, ex-pro Rayment reckons Joyce will be the final part of his masterplan.

The Spalding supremo said: “I always maintained that we needed another striker – and I’m delighted to have signed Jacob. I’ve heard plenty of good reviews of him and he’ll offer us something a bit different.

“He’s big and strong – and will complement what we have already. It’s a real coup for us to be able to beat Conference North sides to his signature.

“I have a squad of 15 or so players in my head now and this signing is pretty much the final piece of the jigsaw.”

While Rayment admits he feels like a kid in a candy shop after a summer of lavish spending, he is adamant that his squad isn’t a closed shop.

Teenage left back Callum Earls – arguably the best Spalding player in a poor side last season – has been brought back in from the cold, while there are high hopes that winger Tom James will develop into a top talent at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

Young keeper Lee Drury will attend pre-season after making the step up from Pinchbeck United, while Spalding Athletic graduates Alex Lyon and James Allen are still very much in Rayment’s thoughts.

The ambitious boss is also incredibly keen to forge relationships within the community, with a potential link-up with Moulton Harrox the latest idea being implemented by the Tulips.

Although they’ve been dubbed the Manchester City of the UCL, Rayment is adamant his principles will never change.

“Anybody who trains well in pre-season will be in with a shout,” added Rayment. “Tom James and Callum Earls have bags of talent and, if they show the right attitude, contracts are up for grabs.

“The aim is to have young, local lads actually wanting to play their football here.”