One of Weymouth Football Club’s top teenagers has quit the club for neighbours Dorchester claiming he’s fed up waiting for a first team chance.
Attacking midfielder Simon Critchell, who made his senior debut as a substitute two years ago when he was 16 but has yet to start a first team game, said he couldn’t afford to wait any longer.
“I think I’m good enough to play in the Dr Martens League but past history suggests that at Weymouth I’m unlikely to get a chance to prove myself,” said Critchell whose younger brother Kyle has just been given a three-year YTS deal at Southampton.
“I’ve been playing well in the reserves, but even when the first team are struggling for players Geoff (Butler) seems to bring in people from outside the club instead of using reserve team players.
“I’ve been with Weymouth for five years and made my Dr Martens debut against Stafford Rangers as a substitute two years ago, but since then I’ve just been a sub – if I hang around for another couple of years it’ll be too late.
“Dorchester seem to give their young players more opportunity to break into the first team and that is my aim. I’m also looking forward to joining up again with players like Michael Walker, Steve Gilbert and James Wilson who I know from the Dorset youth team.”
But, defending his decision not to give Critchell a first team call-up, Terras boss Butler said at the moment he did not consider he was good enough for the Premier Division.
“He is a very useful footballer and I am not saying that as he matures he won’t be,” said Butler. “But as our league position stands at the moment I can’t afford to put youngsters in just to give them experience in case they cost us vital points. If we were safe it would be a different story, but if they are not prepared to wait and want to move on that is up to them.
“I don’t blame the lads for being enthusiastic and wanting first team football, but the gulf between the Wessex Combination and Dr Martens is monumental.
“It was a similar situation with Michael Walker who decided to go to Dorchester at the start of the season. But I think he made a mistake because he hasn’t played many full first team games there either. If Simon wants to do the same I can’t stop him.”
Magpies second team boss Phil Simkin described Critchell’s signing as “a real coup”.
“He’s a strong six-footer who is equally at home at the back or in midfield and I’m delighted to bring him here because I am sure he has first team potential,” said Simkin. “He won’t have any trouble fitting in because he already knows quite a few of the lads. He’ll obviously start in the reserves with a debut at Sturminster Newton on Saturday – but the rest is up to him.”