After making his full debut for the Club on Tuesday night, Jude Arthurs highlighted the pathway through Academy and Development phase football into the first team here at Bromley Football Club.
Arthurs was selected by Neil Smith for Tuesday evening’s National League clash with Woking at Hayes Lane, with the U23s graduate playing the full 90-minutes and looking comfortable on the pitch.
Jude was released by Gillingham’s Academy set up at the age of 18, an event that can often be make or break for a young footballer. Bromley came calling though and gave him a new opportunity;
“I remember coming straight in to Bromley after leaving Gillingham and Danny Mills, the U23s coach at the time, really looked after me and made me believe in myself again after being released by Gillingham at 18. On the first day everyone made me feel so welcome and it could immediately see a really good energy around the Club.”
Jude became a regular starter for the Professional Development squad at Hayes Lane, and he also earned valuable first-team football experience during a loan spell to Ramsgate.
Jude was signed ahead of the 2020/21 season as a first year pros alongside Ollie Tanner, Liam Vincent, Tom Purrington and Tarek Najia, meaning he would train with Neil Smiths 1st team, but also continue to ply his trade with the U23s during the Suburban League campaign.
It also rewarded Jude, as well as other first year pros, following completion of his personal training course during his first year in the U23s set up. For Arthurs it was also a chance to experience football in a new environment;
“Since joining Bromley it’s been a breath of fresh air that I needed, having been at Gillingham for almost 10 years. This was a great place to join with the Club going in the right direction.”
Speaking highly of his former coach in the U23s set up Danny Mills, Jude is also relishing the chance to continue his development under current Manager Roger Johnson;
“Playing under Roger is great because he brings so much knowledge of the game as he has played at a very high level. He has enhanced my game already in short space of time I have spent with him.”
Jude had little time to prepare himself for what was a huge moment in his career on Tuesday. Having been given the nod during Monday’s training session, Arthurs would line up at full back against Woking.
Thrown straight in at the deep end the senior pros in the dressing room made him feel welcome ahead of the debut;
“Of course it felt a little different and I was nervous but, I treated it like any other game. All of the first team boys really helped me before the game, as they just let me go out and play my game and enjoy it.”
His impressive performance on Tuesday will no doubt give Neil Smith selection headaches ahead of the new fixture. But, it will also give the first-team Manager confidence in calling upon Jude once again in the Vanarama National League.
A debut for a young footballer is another defining moment in their career. For Jude, having overcome the hurdle of being released from Gillingham, he has now achieved a major goal in earning that first start. But his work is by no means done;
“It’s only the start as I need to keep my head down and just keep doing what I have been doing. I need to continue to work hard in training and, when I get my chance, show what I can do.”
Jude becomes the latest on the growing list of Academy and Development squad products that have made first team appearances here at Hayes Lane.
In recent years Jordan Higgs, Daniel Ajakaiye, Aiden Enver and Ollie Tanner have made the journey to the first team. Just a month ago promising young left-back Liam Vincent made his debut in the FA Trophy win over Hemel Hempstead. A season which has seen Liam score at Fratton Park in the FA Youth Cup and go on to reach the 3rd round of the competition with his team mates.
Jude is a role model for our Youth, Academy and fellow U23 players as he has demonstrated the clear pathway to the first team at Bromley Football Club. Jude continues to keep a level head and shared valuable advice for promising young footballers;
All I would say is give yourself the best possible chance at doing all the little things correct. For example being on time and staying out after training to work on your game. The small things add up in the long run.