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Norwich City new boy backed to be Premier League player by his boss at Bromley


Bromley boss Andy Woodman has backed Kellen Fisher to be a future Premier League player after the 19-year-old completed his permanent switch to Norwich.

Fisher signed a long-term deal with the Canaries and will initially join their academy set-up.

The Bromley academy graduate made his debut for the club in the FA Trophy against Dover Athletic in December 2021.

The right-sided full-back featured 27 times for the Ravens last season as they reached the National League play-off semi-finals.

He was named as Bromley Supporters’ Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season for the 2022-23 campaign.

Norwich reportedly beat off competition from Wolves and Brentford to land Fisher.

“It wasn’t bittersweet, it was just sweet,” Woodman told the South London Press. “Sometimes, in the position we’re in as coaches and managers, you always want to hang on to your best players. But there are certain times where you just know that some players deserve to kick on.

“I’m delighted for Kellen.

Bromley v Southend United, Vanarama National League, Hayes Lane, 01 January 2023
Picture : Keith Gillard

“He’s come in and done well. People don’t realise how tough it is for a boy of that age to come into a league of men and do as well as he did.  I have to credit the coaches here – they worked tirelessly with him. I put my trust in him. We developed him and he has achieved a really fantastic move to a good club.

“I don’t think for one minute that we won’t see him in the Premier League in the future.”

“He had the maturity and the heart of the size of a lion.

“You have to believe in young players. If you get their trust, they will run through brick walls for you – Kellen did that.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the next one come off the conveyor belt and come into the team.”

Mitchel Bergkamp – the son of Arsenal and Inter Milan legend Dennis – has penned a new deal with Bromley.

He played just nine times last season after joining as a free agent in January following his release from Watford.

Bergkamp, 24, scored once – in a 2-1 defeat at Woking – but came in and out of the side during the campaign. 

“I don’t think we saw the best of Mitchel,” said Woodman.

“He came halfway through the season, so having a really good look at him in this pre-season was important. Hopefully he can be a bit more of a problem player in the team. He has all the attributes, but he has to carve out his own name in his own right, which he will.

“What he has got to do is work out the balance of being a good player and putting in the energy, effort and graft that is warranted to be in our team.”

Woodman has lost three players – Omar Sowunmi, Harry Forster and Reice Charles-Cook – who had all been offered contracts to stay at Hayes Lane for this season.

Bromley v Wealdstone, Vanarama National League, Hayes Lane, 10 December 2022
Picture : Keith Gillard

Sowunmi, who won the Players’ Player of the Season and the Manager’s Player of the Season in the 2022-23 campaign, has joined League Two side Sutton United on a free transfer.

“We should understand that we offered the most that we could offer a player to stay at this football club,” explained Woodman of the 27-year-old defender’s departure.

“Omar declined that offer, and Sutton have got themselves a very good player. We should give a lot of credit to the coaching staff here as well.

“When Omar came [following his release from Colchester], there were one or two eyebrows raised about what he wasn’t good at and what he couldn’t do.

“Everyone told me what a fantastic player he is when he left. Our coaching staff worked tirelessly to get him to that level.”

Forster, 23, has joined League Two side Crawley Town, with the Ravens receiving compensation.

Woodman said: “Even though they’re the league above us, there isn’t much difference between us as clubs. It’s good for both parties. We didn’t use him quite as much as people thought we should have.

“But, that said, when you have a young boy of 19 going for more than £100,000, I feel as though I made the right decision playing Kellen Fisher. He deserved and warranted it, but that came at Harry’s expense.”

Charles-Cook, who has had two spells with the South Londoners, has also left.

Bromley v Scunthorpe Unkted, Vanarama National League, Hayes Lane, 27 August 2022
Picture : Keith Gillard

Bromley have signed Chelsea keeper Teddy Sharman-Lowe on a season-long loan and Grant Smith following his departure from Yeovil.

Woodman said: “I know he’s a fans’ favourite, but I have been down this road before with Reice, where I have offered him a contract – he ummed, aaahed and messed about, so we took Ellery Balcombe. It’s the same again. 

We have offered him a contract. I made several attempts to convince him to sign, but he just wanted more.

 “That’s football – people have a value – but we can’t get to the figure he wanted.

 “We really made him a fantastic offer. I had to make a decision as manager of this football club about whether I waited for Reice Charles-Cook to try the market out and then come back to me, or do I sign a goalkeeper.

 “I have gone out and signed two goalkeepers. We had to move on.”

Fisher, Sowunmi and Forster have joined the likes of Ellery Balcombe, Ali Al-Hamadi, Ryan Stirk, and Ethan Coleman in plying their trade at Bromley under Woodman before moving up the football pyramid.

“It’s something we’re really good at,” added Woodman.

“Clubs are recognising that players who come here, whether they’re signing here as a stepping stone to get up the leagues or are joining on loan, they go out of here better.

“We have had a lot of very nice conversations and messages from clubs who notice that.

“It’s a nice reputation for us to have.”


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