Hadleigh United chairman Rolf Beggerow has defended the club’s decision to give Tesfaye Bramble the chance to restart his football career with them.
Bramble, who served two-and-half years of a four-and-a-half year sentence for rape, was released from prison earlier this month, and is playing on a non-contract basis with the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division leaders.
After being contacted by the Free Press, Beggerow released a statement saying: “After taking into account several factors and obtaining references, it was a committee decision to support manager Stuart Crawford and several senior players who know Tes very well and give him the opportunity to restart his football career with Hadleigh United.”
Striker Bramble, 33, who scored for Hadleigh in Saturday’s 6-1 victory at Woodbridge, made more than 200 Football League appearances, scoring 61 goals between 2001-7, for Southend United and Stockport County.
His career has also included spells with Chelmsford City, Cambridge City, Cambridge United and Stevenage. He made one international appearance for Montserrat in 2004, scoring against Antigua and Barbuda in a 5-4 defeat.
Tesfaye is the older brother of former Premier League star Titus, who played for Ipswich Town, Newcastle United, Wigan Athletic and Sunderland. He was released by the Black Cats at the end of last season.
Hadleigh manager Stuart Crawford was at Ipswich Town with Tesfaye Bramble in the club’s youth set-up. “I have known him since we were boys,” said Crawford. “He has a lot of experience.”
Crawford planned to take a look at FA Vase opponents Welwyn Garden City last night. The Spartan South Midlands side visit the Millfield on December 7 in a last 64 tie, with £1,500 at stake.
He had mixed news on the injury front at the weekend. Scott Chaplin has been ruled out until Christmas after having his appendix removed.
But Ollie Canfer is set to return at home to Thetford Town on Saturday (3pm), after scoring twice for the Reserves.
As previously reported, Hadleigh will not be applying for promotion to Step Four (likely the Ryman League).
“We are not ready financially, and the general view is we should try to win the league first, and then take stock and give it a fresh look next year,” said Beggerow.
“We are not unambitious, but we are realistic.”