Ryman North: Hornchurch skipper Elliot Styles excited to see old faces at testimonial
PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 May 2017
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Urchins defender to be rewarded for long service with special match at Bridge Avenue
Hornchurch pay tribute to skipper and stalwart Elliot Styles tonight (Friday) by hosting a testimonial for the defender.
Styles has been at Bridge Avenue for the past 11 years, and his long service will be rewarded with a special game.
Many former team-mates are set to return for the fixture, including the likes of Mark Janney, Frankie Curley and Billy Coyne, and Styles is looking forward to the clash.
“I’m really excited about my testiomonial and it will be nice to see some of the old faces back at Hornchurch,” said the Urchins captain.
“All of them have contributed a lot to the club down the years, and they’ve also helped me develop along the way.
“It’s great that the management team are involved too and I’m sure it will be funny to see some of them back on the pitch.
“It’s a kind gesture from the club and I’m really thankful to them for giving me a testimonial.”
Styles joined Hornchurch in the summer of 2006 as then-manager Colin McBride built a squad capable of challenging for the Isthmian North title.
The defender featured regularly in his first season with Urchins, featuring 25 times in total and, 11 years later, is now on the verge of making 500 club appearances.
However, Styles admits he never thought he would have the opportunity to remain with the club for such a lengthy period of time.
“After the first season, we were offered the chance to keep our shirts and I thought I better take mine as I didn’t think I’d pull a Hornchurch one on again!” he added.
“I never expected such a long spell with the club because they have been such a big non-league club.
“I’ll just keep taking each season as it comes and enjoy it all, the highs and the lows, because one day I won’t be playing anymore.”
Over his time with the club, Styles has seen plenty of highs, such as captaining Urchins to victory in the Isthmian Premier play-off final in 2012.
The Hornchurch skipper would be forgiven, then for selecting that game as the most memorable during his 11 years of service.
Instead, though, Styles went a little further back in his Urchins career to select his best game for the club.
He said: “Everyone asks me that question and the answer is always the same – Weymouth away in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round in 2008 (Hornchurch won 2-1).
“Of course promotion to the National League South is up there, but against Weymouth the odds were stacked against us.
“We stayed in a hotel the night before the game and the preparation made you fell like a full-time player.
“Most of that team are coming back for the testimonial, so it will be great to see them all again.”
The testimonial kicks-off at 7.30pm, with tickets still available on the door for £5.