THE Babb factor was what persuaded Dean Inman to opt for a new chapter in his career with Hayes & Yeading.
The highly rated defender signed on the dotted line for an undisclosed fee, ending a six-year association with Hampton & Richmond Borough.
For much of the close season the 22-year-old had appeared destined for Farnborough, where he spent a large part of last season on loan, but that move was scuppered by the Hampshire side’s financial woes.
However, when Inman heard former Republic of Ireland international Babb, who served Liverpool and Coventry among others with distinction during an illustrious playing career, wanted him for his new-look United side, he needed little persuasion to get on board.
“Phil Babb being boss was the clincher for me. He’s played at the highest level in the Premiership and at the World Cup. As a 22-year-old lad, it is going to be an honour to work for him and learn my trade,” Inman said.
“Phil rang me at the beginning of the summer and asked me what my status was and I said I’m still under contract at Hampton, and they have gone away and thought I was worth the money. It’s flattering to think they are paying money to get me in the club.”
Inman joined Hampton following his release by Brentford at 16 and his success with the Beavers had QPR inviting him for trials in 2011, though interest from Loftus Road waned after a series of niggling injuries.
Now fit again, Inman hopes he can revive his dreams of a career in the professional game with Babb’s guidance.
“Possibly QPR came too soon as I was still a bit naïve in the game,” Inman added. “I’ve had a year and a half in the Conference South, many more games under my belt and I feel more mature as a player, more grown up, fitter and stronger.
“I’ve been quite unlucky with injuries, so now I’m going to try and knuckle down and play well for Phil and if I can have a good year, who knows what the future holds. I’m hoping with Phil’s added input I can push on and one day make it in the professional game.”
Inman’s first game went to plan on Saturday as United beat Ryman League side Wealdstone 3-1.