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Raider AJ: I thought we were done

11:30 22 August 2014

Raiders forward AJ Smith is delighted the team will be on ice this season (pic; John Scott)

Raiders forward AJ Smith is delighted the team will be on ice this season (pic; John Scott)

Archant

Smith feared the worst

London Raiders forward AJ Smith thought he was going to be hanging his skates up once again, before the club announced a rescue deal had been agreed to continue operating this season.

The future of the Raiders was plunged into doubt a little over a week ago when owner Ollie Oliver stepped down following the shock death of manager Mick Cahill.

But tireless efforts behind the scenes by a supporters group, and some last-minute help from Havering Council, ensured the team could compete in the National League in 2014/15 and Smith, who was tempted out of a brief retirement in the early stages of last season is delighted.

He said: “I think I speak for all the boys when I say it’s such great news that we still have a team this year.

“It’s been up and down all week and at one point I thought we were done and I would be retired (again), for good this time!

“Luckily that isn’t the case and I would just like to say thank you to John Scott, Danny Marshall, Kevin Davis and all of the amazing Romford fans that have given up their time, effort and their money to keep the team alive.”

Raiders will continue to play home games at the Lee Valley Arena, while the wait for a new rink to be built in Romford town centre goes on.

And Smith, who scored 13 goals and 14 assists in 34 matches last season, has paid tribute to their supporters, saying the team will continue to show their fighting spirit on the ice.

He added: “We owe everything we do this season to them.

“I don’t know how many other clubs would still be fighting on through everything we’ve been through the last year since we left Rom Valley Way, but that’s the never-say-die Romford spirit.

“It starts with the fans and that’s what we take onto the ice with us.”

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