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Horsham complete signing of ex-Premier League and EFL player

Horsham complete signing of ex-Premier League and EFL player Matthew Briggs, and already handed him a debut in a pre-season friendly.

Briggs began his career with Fulham, making his way through the club’s academy from the age of 10, and went on to make his first-team debut in May 2007, becoming the youngest player to play in the Premier League, aged 16 years and 68 days.

He played 13 league games over eight years with the club, and 30 in all competitions. then had loan spells with a number of EFL clubs, including Leyton Orient, Peterborough United, Bristol City and Watford.

He was released by Fulham in 2014, and he joined Championship side Millwall, but found opportunities tough to come by at Millwall, and he was loaned out to League One club Colchester United during the latter half of the 2014–15 season.

He was released by Millwall at the end of that season, joining the U’s on a permanent basis where he remained until May 2017, playing 47 games. He joined Chesterfield in August 2017.

He went on to play for the likes of Barnet, Maldon & Tiptree, Coggeshall Town, HB Køge, Dartford, Vejle and Gosport Borough in recent years.

Eligible to represent both England and Guyana, Briggs has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19, under-20 and under-21 levels, and has represented Guyana at full international level.


Dom Di Paola’s squad has been strengthened further by the signing of Guyanese international pair Kadell Daniel and Matt Briggs.

Kads made quite an impact after joining the Hornets in February from Folkestone Invicta, scoring a first half hat-trick in a 4-1 defeat of Kingstonian and ending the campaign with four goals in twelve games, while his international team-mate and captain, Briggs, made thirteen senior appearances for Fulham before dropping into non-league football and joins us from Southern League Gosport Borough.

The pair’s arrival takes the total of summer signings to seven and looks set to give the manager plenty of options, and much to think about, as he prepares his squad for the start of the new season.

“When Kads first came in, he hadn’t played much in those previous six weeks so he was a bit rusty” recalls Dom. “But then he got four goals in six starts and he provides something different. We had a chat at the end of last season and at one stage it looked like he was going to move on, but it’s another example of a player realising just how much he enjoys playing his football here. He’s just had a baby, is relatively local, and I think there’s more to come from him.

“He’s looked really sharp over pre-season and he’s come back from an international break with the Guyana national team in really good shape, so if he can get to grips with what we want to do then he’ll be a key player. There’s no doubt that he’s a ridiculously good footballer. He’s played in some really good sides at this level and if we can get the best out of him then he’s a really good signing for us.”

Dom’s delight at re-signing the 29 year old was shared by the player himself, who told Matt Jones of his excitement for the season ahead.

“I’m feeling very excited for the next season and happy to be back. I enjoyed the last part of the season, I got a good vibe from the club, and yeah, I’m glad to be back.

“It’s always hard coming into a team halfway through the season that is already firing, doing well, and been together for a while, as there’s that dynamic already in place. Throughout my career I’ve been at clubs where I’ve joined in the latter stages and never really felt settled, but the little taster that I got, from the players, manager and the atmosphere at home games, that’s what’s made me excited for this season because I can start fresh from the beginning and start the season ready to go.

“I’m actually looking forward to winning something. I haven’t won anything in my career but I do feel like this is the time that I will. As a team, I believe we’re very strong. The recruitment work Dom has done this summer has been amazing. The boys just seem really ready and everybody is hungry to win, and I feel like we’ve got a good chance to claim success.”

Despite missing the first few training sessions of the summer, Kadell returns to the Horsham camp arguably fitter than anyone after playing for his adopted country in CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying matches against Grenada and Guadeloupe in Florida last month.

“It was amazing. That’s one part of my career that I have no regrets about. I was first called up in 2015 and it was the best decision I made in going to Guyana. Not that I had a choice as I wasn’t going to get an England call up! I was out there for the Gold Cup and playing against players who play for big clubs like Torino. When you’re on the same pitch as them and playing well, it’s gives me that extra boost, that extra battery on my back, to just go and set it alight this year.”

Injury saw Matt Briggs miss the last few weeks of the domestic season and those two international fixtures but there’s no doubting that, when fully fit, he could make a big impact in the Hornets side. Reflecting on his time at Gosport, he told Matt “I was with them for the last two years and the first season was a great one for me personally and for the team as we just missed out on the play-offs. Last season wasn’t too good as I struggled with a few injuries and, coming off the back of an international break with Guyana, I didn’t have much of a rest. And the form of the team wasn’t great either so we went through a couple of managers which wasn’t great for the team but we managed to stay up.”

Matt made sporting headlines when, as a sixteen year old, he became the youngest player to make an appearance in the Premier League when coming off the bench for Fulham in their match at Middlesbrough and subsequently went on to be linked with both Manchester United and Bayern Munich! Despite playing alongside the likes of Kyle Walker, Kieran Tripper and Danny Welbeck for England’s U19s, a lack of opportunities at club level saw him loaned out to a number of clubs, including Bristol City, Millwall and Watford before dropping into the non-league game.

Spells with Danish sides HB Køge and Vejle BK followed before Matt returned to England and has spent the last two seasons at Gosport Borough.

“Matt is a very different player to what we’ve got” added Dom. “He’s a dynamic defender with a good pedigree who had a half-decent spell at Gosport but wants to be somewhere where he can get nice and settled. He seems a really nice lad and we’ll see over pre-season what he can add to the group. You never know in football who or what is going to come up but if he plays better than what we’ve got then he’ll play. He’s just got to be the best version of himself and that’s how he’ll get his chance”

The 32 year old admitted that he’s looking at joining up with Kadell at club level. “Through our youth days we’ve always known of each other and playing together for Guyana means we’ve built a chemistry so I’m looking forward to us playing together at Horsham, and playing well. It’s a great experience (playing for Guyana). I represented England from 16-21 years old before making the decision to switch to Guyana and I’ve never regretted it. It’s fantastic getting to travel to amazing places and I’m hugely proud to represent my country, and to captain them too is a massive personal achievement.“

Asked by Matt how much of an impact his experience can have at this level of football, Matt replied “It’s massive. I’ve played at the highest domestic level, on the international stage, and played at a lot of leagues up and down England, so I think it will only be of benefit so I can help everyone else around me.”

In a sense, Matt’s career has now gone full circle as he is employed as Academy Care Mentor at Fulham, the club he joined as a ten year old. “It’s a fantastic role for me, given the journey I’ve had in my career. From a young age up until now I feel like I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and awareness. I’ve been through enough stuff that I can teach the youngsters now, to share my story and give them wisdom and make sure they make the right choices on and off the pitch.”

So what attributes does our latest signing believe he can bring to the team?
“I was always a left-back by trade but following an injury I had a while back, I’ve moved more inside and I’m now more of a centre-back. But attributes-wise, I’m very quick, strong, powerful and a good dribbler, so I’ll be comfortable bringing the ball out and up the pitch. I’m a left-sided player so can play on the left of a back three, centrally in a four, or even as a left full-back if required, so I’m quite versatile.

“On a personal level, I want a consistent run of games and stay injury-free. Horsham just missed out on the play-offs last year so it will be great to achieve that this year, or even get promoted directly. I’ve heard lots of good things about the club, and it’s a great set-up here. I know a few of the boys and it’s close to where I live so that’s a bonus. The club has been very welcoming to me and I feel settled straight away.”

We wish Kadell and Matt long and successful careers with the Hornets.

Fans reacted as Horsham complete the signing of ex-Premier League and EFL player Matt Briggs…

@MarkHil10062095: Can Fulham sign you back and stick you up top?

@matchwornshirt1: Good luck pal, will be down to watch you a few times

@grantsales: Best of luck with this! #FFC

Josh John Mitchell: Wow, great singing with Briggs

Bert Nicholls: Welcome Matt, will hope to see play for The other Hornets !!!

@jcampbellffc: Good luck @matthewbriggs17

@BaileyFFC: No way we’ve signed Matthew Briggs what the fuck 😭😭😭😭😭😭

@PrivettLife: Good luck Brigg Dog.

Howard Bayliss: Didn’t think I would see him again when he left Fulham. Great signing 👍

Gavin Daisley: Ex Fulham Briggs, saw him a few times and was gutted to see him leave. Great signing

Mark Grindrod: Good signings Horsham

foreverayellow: great to see briggs still playing for the love of the game

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