WFFC Advent Calendar: 14 – Luke Stanley

Today’s piece takes a look at our youngest 100-club member, Luke Stanley.

It may come as a bit of a surprise, by Luke has already amassed 111 appearances for the club, putting him 12th on our all-time list.

Luke was signed by Tony Ievoli, having previously been had spells at Barkingside and Tilbury.

His debut came on the 25th of October 2008, a 4-2 defeat to Ware. Alex Ievoli and Joel Palmer got the goals for Forest that day, and it looked like we’d hang on for a draw, but two late goals from Chris Ellerbeck condemned us to another defeat. Interestingly, current manager Wale Ojelabi was also playing that day.

In his first season for the club, he made 31 appearances, scoring one goal. He stayed with the club through the summer, and made 34 appearances the following season, scoring twice, and even managed to get himself sent off once.

Once Tony Mercer was appointed as manager, Stanley left the club and linked up with Spencer Harrison at Aveley. But before long, Stanley returned to Forest, and made 17 appearances in the tail end of the 2010-11 season.

He came to the club as an out and out winger, but Wale Ojelabi clearly saw the defensive part of his game as a great asset, and began to play him in the centre of the pitch.

Last season (2011-12), Stanley again started the season with Aveley, but made the trip back to Cricklefield in December 2011, where in a spell cut short by injury, he made 14 appearances , scoring once, in a 1-0 victory over Waltham Abbey.

This season, Stanley’s playing time has again been cut shortly slightly by injury. However, he has still managed to make 15 appearances, scoring three goals – the most in any season to date.

Still in his early twenties, there is no reason why Stanley can’t go on to be the club’s all-time leading appearance maker. Only another 95 to go before he overtakes Paul Salmon!

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