Ricky Wellard’s arrival at Wealdstone was all about rewarding Gordon Bartlett’s persistence and faith.
The former AFC Wimbledon midfielder had been a target of the Stones’ boss ever since he took his first steps in adult football as a teenager at Ashford Town Middlesex.
A decade on from those days at Short Lane, via a stint in league football with the Wombles plus other stops at the likes of Cambridge United, Sutton and Welling, talks over the summer persuaded the now 28-year-old it was the perfect time to finally respond positively to Bartlett’s advances.
“I think it is important for any footballer to play for a manager who really believes in them - that is the most important thing,” said Wellard
“I spoke to various managers in the summer, but Gordon and I had a bit of history and it just felt right.
“At this stage of my career I want to be playing for a manager who knows my strengths and more importantly my weaknesses and who gives me the confidence to go and do what I’m good at.
“So it was a no-brainer when we spoke in the summer and hopefully it is going to carry on from here.”
Wellard made the first down payment on that faith with a stunning goal in Monday night’s 2-2 draw at home to St Albans.
He labelled the finish one of his best while admitting he did not have much to measure it against following a dearth of goals in recent seasons.
“It’s up there with my best goals, but I haven’t scored many in recent years, so it is nice to get one early in the season.
“It was nice too to get us back into it, but unfortunately we could not press on to get the third.”
The draw with Saints mirrored Saturday’s score-line in the season curtain-raiser at Dartford, results which mean Stones already have more points after two games than they had after six in their first two seasons at Conference South level.
The frustration for Wellard and co is the nagging feeling it should be more, but that in itself suggests positive signs for the campaign ahead.
“The fans and anyone who has seen the two games we have played so far would say we have deserved more than two points, but that’s football,” he added.
“We are unlucky to have not got more, but over the course of the season we will get what we deserve and if we carry on performing and showing the same commitment we have the first two games we won’t have any problems.
“We just need to be a little more ruthless in front of goal and a little bit more sturdy in our own box.
“So it is the old story of both boxes really where we need to improve because in general play we felt good.”