What does lead vocalist for multi-platinum award-winning band McFly, Danny Jones, have in common with former Premier League footballer Rhys Weston? They’ve both signed for Combined Counties League side Cobham!
The Step 5 Hammers have pulled off a unique double signing ahead of the new season.
Weston, 38, has come out of retirement to join Sam Merison’s side, while Jones has shown his ability in last month’s Soccer Aid match.
As well as selling more than 10 million records worldwide, Jones is a judge on The Voice Kids where he mentored the winning artist Sam Wilkinson.
But away from the bright lights and preparation for his upcoming tour, Jones likes nothing more than getting out on the pitch with his new team-mates.
“I was a few weeks away from Soccer Aid, and I really wanted to push myself to ensure I was as match fit and as sharp as possible,” Jones told The NLP. “My management company are involved at Cobham so asked Sam, the first team manager, if it would be ok for me to come down and train with the first team squad. I got on great with all the boys straight away and felt really welcome.
“I’ve always been mad about football and played all the time when I was younger. Soccer Aid is a real highlight in the calendar for me, it’s just an unbelievable experience from start to finish and for an incredibly important cause. I wasn’t specifically looking to play semi-pro, but when I started training with Cobham it felt great, I felt at home, and the manager was really encouraging, so I wanted to get involved for this season.”
For Weston – who, like Jones, has a link to Cobham through committee member Dan Parker – it’s about dusting off the boots again five years after retirement.
The former Wales international began his career at Arsenal before a successful period at Cardiff City where they won two promotions to reach the Championship.
Weston, 38, also played at Walsall and then captained Dundee. Injury brought an abrupt end to his playing days at Wimbledon but the opportunity to lend his experience is something that appealed – eventually!
“It wasn’t in the bigger plan,” Weston, who does media work for Arsenal and talkSPORT, told The NLP. “It was one of those serendipitous moments where a friend of mine, Dan, is involved with the club.
“I bumped into him walking to lunch one afternoon and he asked if I fancied coming down to train. My initial reaction was, ‘No, I’m alright thanks, mate’. But I ended up doing a couple of training sessions at the back end of the season and spoke to Sam who said they could do with someone experienced.
“Being brutally honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it but as I’ve trained a little bit more and got to know the boys more, it’s become a reality. I don’t expect to play regularly and I don’t need to because it’s a young team. But it’s more a case of can I add any value by being around and offering advice?”
Weston won’t just hand out guidance unless it’s wanted – and he’s impressed by what he’s seen.
“The people who turn up to train every Tuesday and Thursday, as well as playing on a Saturday, love it – that’s why they’re there,” he added.
“To do something out of pure enjoyment is great to see. The standard has been really impressive. There are some really talented boys.
“The gaffer has pulled together a really close-knit group of lads that seem to be going in the right direction. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the tactical acumen, the attention to detail and the players’ ability to take on instruction.”
And striker Jones has also really enjoyed getting to know the Surrey village side. “I’ve really taken to the club and see how important it is to the community,” he said.
“Everyone is ambitious and has a winning mentality. What I love about Non-League football is the strong community aspect, how important every single person is at a club. I hope more people come to get behind their local team.”