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Hornchurch skipper Elliot Styles thankful to all after testimonial game

PUBLISHED: 15:00 20 May 2017

Colin McBride picks up the ball during play at the Elliot Styles testimonial match (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Colin McBride picks up the ball during play at the Elliot Styles testimonial match (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Urchins skipper honoured for long service with special game last week

Elliot Styles contemplates a missed chance during his testimonal match at Hornchurch Stadium (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)Elliot Styles contemplates a missed chance during his testimonal match at Hornchurch Stadium (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Elliot Styles says he was overwhelmed by the support from everyone involved during his Hornchurch testimonial last Friday.

The defender has been with Urchins since the summer of 2006 and his long-service was rewarded with a special game at the club’s Bridge Avenue home.

Former team-mates turned up to play for Boring United and The Entertainers, with the game ending 3-3.

As a centre-back, Styles would likely have disapproved of some of the defensive work on show, but that would have quickly been forgotten by his pride in having such a special night.

Mark Janney and Andy Tomlinson share a joke at the Elliot Styles testimonial match (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)Mark Janney and Andy Tomlinson share a joke at the Elliot Styles testimonial match (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

“It was a brilliant night and I’m sure everyone involved in it enjoyed it,” said Styles. “There was great support from the fans, the coaches, the former players and the board.

“It was really overwhelming for me, but it was a great night that I’ll look back on fondly for some time.”

While there were plenty of Hornchurch players past and present paying tribute to Styles, the fans also turned out to honour their skipper.

The biggest crowd of the season turned up at Bridge Avenue for the clash to celebrate the defender.

And Styles was delighted with their support, not just on the night, but throughout his entire Hornchurch career.

“In my time with the club, the fans have shown myself and the team nothing but support, in the good times and the bad,” he added.

“The support from the Hornchurch fans has always been remarkable and I think we have the best in non-league.

“Without fans, we wouldn’t be where we were, and that’s the same for every club.”

While Friday was a celebratory night for Styles, there could be more for him to enjoy next season.

Currently on 499 competitive appearances for Hornchurch (plus 64 friendlies), Styles is just 24 games shy of Peter Goddard’s official club record of 523.

It seems likely, then, that it is a case of when, not if, Styles surpasses that record, but he is taking nothing for granted.

“It would be great to beat Peter’s record, but I know I have to prove myself next season and earn my starting place,” he said.

“Everyone starts with a clean slate and it’s no different for me, which is probably an attitude that has helped me stay at Hornchurch for so long.”

Manager Jimmy McFarlane is also likely to become Urchins’ longest-serving manager next term, and Styles revealed the secrets behind their successful partnership.

“I’ve always had a great level of respect for Jimmy as he used to be a centre-back and he’s helped guide me in that position,” he said. “We’re both winners and so are a lot of the players that have been here, which has worked.”

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