New skipper Ed Rolph takes pride in leading Histon into the Northern Premier League
Ed Rolph has taken great pride in being asked to captain Histon in their new adventure in the Pitching In Northern Premier League, Midlands Division.
The 26-year-old striker has taken the skipper’s armband after the departure of Max York in a summer of change at Bridge Road.
The Stutes have been shifted from the Isthmian League to the Northern League as a result of a restructuring of the non-League pyramid, but it has meant an exodus of players who have been unable to commit because of the increased travelling demands.
“I work in London so even more so than before it’s going to be a challenge when we’re playing away in midweek,” said Rolph, who is a business development manager at IBM.
“In normal circumstances, I spend a lot of time travelling in and out of London anyway in the week.
“Given how things have changed, in terms of working from home and working more remotely, that probably plays into my favour a little bit.
“It’s going to be a challenge but I’ve said from the offset that Histon has given me a good opportunity, it’s a club that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at and I wanted to give something back and give some commitment because I think it’s important.
“I’ve said from the outset that I will give my everything and it’s just one of those things that we’ve just got to overcome really.”
York is not the only player to leave Histon, with James Chivers, Danny Gould, Danny Brown, Phil Peachey, Buster Harradine and Simon Swinton also departing because of the switch in leagues.
“I don’t think there would have been probably anyone really that would have left had this not been the case,” said Rolph.
“I don’t think anyone was looking to leave or wanted to leave, but it’s just when you’ve got players like Danny Gould, who lives in Essex so it’s already a lot of travelling for him just to get to Histon for home games the idea of doing another two hours or so on top of what he already has to do for every away game, it would just never work.
“It’s a shame, it makes it almost more frustrating because we know that had this not happened then we would all still be together and looking forward to another season as a group that has been together for five years.
“But we are where we are. I don’t think anyone was happy to leave. I’m sure it was very difficult for all of the boys but now we have to look forward to see how we regroup and approach the season.”
There can be no doubt that the new campaign, which starts away at Belper Town, will be a learning curve.
A lot of new faces have arrived during pre-season and that will probably continue into the early months of the season as the squad settles down.
It will present chances to others though.
“What it does provide is an excellent opportunity for some new boys,” said Rolph.
“And some of the young boys from the scholars have come in and been part of the first team squad from the start of pre-season and they have all done brilliantly well and shown great commitment and the quality you need.
“For those individuals, it’s just about helping them along the way having not played much men’s football before. I think we’re all looking forward to the challenge.”
Rolph is now heading into his fifth season with Histon, which is his first and only club since leaving university, where he played at a good level.
It is why when manager Lance Key asked him to take on the captaincy, it was seized on with pride.
“It’s something that I think everyone would relish, really,” said Rolph.
“I’m looking forward to stepping up and to leading the boys for the season, it’s a great honour to be able to do that for a great club like Histon.
“It’s good to know that Keysy and the rest of the management team wanted me to do that role – it’s an honour in all honesty.
“It feels like I have been here for all my adult life, which is the case really.”
He added: “I love the club, what it stands for and it’s been a great ride over the last four or five years, getting promotion and battling against the odds in some circumstances where you’re playing against teams that have got big budgets and talent from all over.
“The people around the ground, the tight-knit squad and the staff that we have, is something that is special I think.”