Cork City in seventh Heaven as Irish club signs highly-rated defender from Stratford Town
DEFENDER George Heaven has thanked Stratford Town for all their support after making the step-up to professional football with Ireland's Division One side Cork City.
The 21-year-old centre-back was brought to the Arden Garages Stadium by then-manager Tommy Wright from Leicester City U23s for the 2019-20 campaign and made his debut in the September of that year against Hitchin Town.
However, his season was cut horribly short after picking up a serious knee injury in the 3-1 victory over Leiston in what was just his second appearance for the Town, ruling him out for the best part of five months.
Victory over Leiston also proved to be Wright's last game in charge of the Blues, with the former Corby Town gaffer sacked just a couple of days later.
During the summer of 2020, Heaven spent some time on trial at Manchester City and Ipswich Town before re-signing for Town for the 2020-21 Southern Premier Central campaign.
The highly-rated centre-back went on to make ten appearances and scoring once - that coming in a 2-1 defeat to Hitchin Town last October - before the Covid-19 pandemic brought an abrupt halt to the campaign.
Reflecting on his time at Town, Heaven said: "It’s been a pleasure to have been a part of Stratford Town.
"There are a lot of genuinely nice people at the club. I’ve really enjoyed my time with Stratford and would thank the management, the players and of course the fans.
"I wish the team all the best in the future and will definitely be coming back to see some old faces when I get the chance."
Heaven's move to Cork City is another example of players coming to Town, learning their trade and then making the big climb up the ladder to professional football.
Town chairman Jed McCrory said: "It’s great to see another player from Stratford Town follow in the footsteps of Albi Skendi, Wilson Carvalho and Lewis Wilson into professional football.
"George has been fantastic during his time with us. He has a lovely family who’d attend games and has told me he looks forward to coming back to support us in the future.
"On behalf of the club I like to wish George all the best with his move to Cork City and for the rest of his career.”